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Idioms and Phrases with have someone by the balls

have someone by the balls

Have someone at one's mercy, as in You have to pay up—they've got you by the balls. The balls here allude to the male genitals. [Vulgar slang; early 1900s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.