under (one's) thumb


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under (one's) thumb

Under another's authoritarian control; continually forced to submit to another's will. They seem happy when they're out and about, but I hear that Johnny is under his husband's thumb at home. Although the job paid well, I couldn't stand the way I was under the boss's thumb.
See also: thumb

*under someone's thumb

Fig. under someone's control and management. (*Typically: get someone ~; have someone ~; hold someone ~; keep someone ~.) You can't keep your kids under your thumb all their lives. I don't want to have these people under my thumb. I'm not the manager type.
See also: thumb

under someone's thumb

Controlled or dominated by someone, as in He's been under his mother's thumb for years. The allusion in this metaphoric idiom is unclear, that is, why a thumb rather than a fist or some other anatomic part should symbolize control. [Mid-1700s]
See also: thumb

under someone's thumb

COMMON If someone is under another person's thumb, the second person controls them. He's completely under his mother's thumb. It's a wonder he dared move out of his room without her permission. National television is firmly under the thumb of the president. Note: You can also say that someone is under the thumb. Ian told the court how his wife kept him under the thumb during their seven-year marriage.
See also: thumb

under someone's thumb

completely under someone's influence or control.
See also: thumb

under somebody’s ˈthumb

(informal) completely controlled or influenced by another person: Now that they’re married, she’s completely under his thumb and never sees her old friends.
See also: thumb

under (someone's) thumb

Under the control of someone; subordinate to.
See also: thumb