boss around


Tell someone what to do, give orders. For example, David complained that his older sister was always bossing him around. The use of boss in the sense of “to dominate” dates from the mid-1800s, and around was added a few decades later.

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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.