by the short hairs

Idioms & Phrases

by the short hairs

Under one's complete control. This expression is often used with get or have, as in She had her husband by the short hairs. It is in effect a euphemism for have someone by the balls, the hairs in question being public hair. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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