iron hand

[ ahy-ern hand ]
See synonyms for iron hand on
  1. strict, harsh, or autocratic, often ruthless control: The general governed the country with an iron hand.

Origin of iron hand

First recorded in 1840–50

Words Nearby iron hand Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use iron hand in a sentence

  • While it lasted we literally and constantly meet with the “iron hand under the velvet glove.”

    Armour in England | J. Starkie Gardner
  • The iron hand of Nemesis seemed reaching out to grasp Nevill, and he shuddered as he realized his danger.

    In Friendship's Guise | Wm. Murray Graydon

British Dictionary definitions for iron hand

iron hand

  1. harsh or rigorous control; overbearing or autocratic force: he ruled with an iron hand

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with iron hand

iron hand

Rigorous control, as in He ruled the company with an iron hand. This usage is sometimes put as iron hand in a velvet glove, meaning “firm but seemingly gentle control,” as in She runs the town with an iron hand in a velvet glove. [c. 1700]

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