Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
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.
*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.
under (someone's) thumb
Under the control of someone; subordinate to.