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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


from:   'hold the reins'   to: 'put the squeeze on'

  • hold the reins
    • The person who holds the reins is someone who is in complete control of a company, firm or organisation.
      "He's been holding the reins for over 20 years and intends to continue for as long as possible."

  • iron fist/hand in a velvet glove
    • This expression is used to describe someone who, behind an appearance of gentleness, is inflexible and determined.
      "To impose the necessary reforms, the leader used persuasion followed by force - an iron fist in a velvet glove."

  • knock (some) sense into
    • When you knock sense into somebody, you use strong words or methods in order to get that person to stop behaving stupidly.
      "When Jason announced that he was going to drop out of college, his uncle managed to knock some sense into him."

  • lay down the law
    • Someone who lays down the law tells people very forcefully and firmly what to do.
      "The volunteers helped in a disorganised way.They needed someone to lay down the law."

  • might is right
    • This saying expresses the belief that being the most powerful person or country gives you the right to do whatever you want.
      "There are many leaders today who believe that might is right."

  • my way or the highway
    • If you say to someone 'it's my way or the highway', you are telling them that either they accept to do as you say or they leave the project.
      "You don't have much choice when someone says: 'it's my way or the highway.'!"

  • paper tiger
    • This term refers to a person, organisation or country that is less powerful or threatening than they appear to be.
      "He threatens to take strong action but he's just another paper tiger."

  • pester power
    • This term refers to the power children exert over their parents by continually nagging or pestering them until they accept to buy advertised toys or fashionable products.
      "Pester power leads busy parents to buy more and more for their children."

  • power behind the throne
    • Someone with no apparent authority who has great influence over the person officially in charge is said to be the power behind the throne.
      "It's essential to be on good terms with his wife. Apparently she's the power behind the throne."

  • pull strings
    • If someone pulls strings, they use influential friends in order to obtain an advantage.
      "David found a job easily - his father just pulled a few strings!"

  • put someone in their place
    • If someone causes offence or irritation by speaking or behaving in an inappropriate manner, you put them in their place by letting them know that they are not as important as they seem to believe.
      "The new trainee is not in a position to criticise our methods.  He needs to be put in his place!"

  • put the squeeze on
    • If you put the squeeze on someone, you put pressure on them to force them to do something.
      "Bob was reluctant to work with Ben until the boss put the squeeze on him."

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