rule with an iron rod

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rule with an iron rod

To rule, govern, or control a group or population with complete, typically tyrannical authority over all aspects of life, work, etc. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rule" and "with." He rules with an iron rod, and moves swiftly to gain control over any entity that is not already in his grasp. She has ruled this company with an iron rod for three decades, and it's going to be difficult for her to let go of control.
See also: iron, rod, rule
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rule with an iron hand/rod, to

Stern or tyrannical rule. This term comes from Tyndall’s translation of the Bible (1526): “And he shall rule them with a rodde of yron.” It was later transferred to any kind of stern domination, either serious or ironic. For the latter, Anthony Trollope used it in Barchester Towers (1857): “In matters domestic she . . . ruled with a rod of iron.” See also iron hand (in a velvet glove).
See also: hand, iron, rule
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Wee Jim would have had to iron out a few things, just like Sir Alex who went from ruling with an iron rod at Aberdeen to having to change it.
No surprises, then, when Burton's character immediately started getting her subordinates' backs up by ruling with an iron rod dressed in a figure-hugging pencil skirt.
"More than ruling with an iron rod, I'll explain to players why they have to be disciplined.
Moyes would have the respect of the players because of the job he has done and a little more ruling with an iron rod would not go amiss at Chelsea.