have someone by the balls

Idioms & Phrases

have someone by the balls

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

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