By the short hairs


      • To have someone in a difficult or inescapable situation
        To describe a situation where someone is trapped, cornered, or held at a disadvantage and has no way out. Often used in a threatening or intimidating manner.

      • To have control or power over someone
        To assert dominance or authority over someone, usually through manipulation or coercion. Can also indicate having someone under one's thumb or at one's mercy.

      • To be in a troublesome or unpleasant predicament
        To be in a difficult or uncomfortable situation, often due to one's own actions or decisions. Can also refer to being in a tight spot or a bind.

    Examples of By the short hairs


      The idiom "by the short hairs" is a vivid and colorful way to describe a situation where someone is trapped, controlled, or in a difficult predicament. It conveys a sense of being at the mercy of someone else and lacking the ability to escape or improve the situation. This idiom is often used in a negative or threatening context, highlighting the unpleasantness of the situation.

      Origin of "By the short hairs"

      The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the 19th century. One theory suggests that it may have derived from the practice of pulling someone's hair as a means of controlling or manipulating them, as hair was seen as a symbol of strength and power. Another theory suggests that it may have originated from the phrase "to have someone by the hair of the head," which was used to describe having someone under one's complete control.

      Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom has been used in literature and spoken language for many years and has become a common phrase in English. It is often used in a figurative sense and can be interpreted in different ways depending on the context. Whether it is used to describe a physical, emotional, or mental hold over someone, the idiom "by the short hairs" remains a powerful and evocative expression.