rule with an iron hand in a velvet glove

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rule with an iron hand in a velvet glove

To control, rule, or govern with absolute or tyrannical authority that is disguised as being permissive, liberal, or lenient. A noun or pronoun can be used between "rule" and "with." The patriarch ruled his family with an iron hand in a velvet glove. Everything was smiles and sunshine, unless you made the mistake of ever going against his wishes. Having provided universal healthcare, free education, and abundant employment opportunities, many people are quick to forget the regime's brutal crackdown on any form of dissent. They have made it clear that they intend to rule with an iron hand in a velvet glove.
See also: glove, hand, iron, rule, velvet
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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