iron hand


Definition of iron hand

: stern or rigorous control ruled with an iron hand

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Other Words from iron hand

ironhanded \ ˈī(-​ə)rn-​ˈhan-​dəd How to pronounce ironhanded (audio) \ adjective

Examples of iron hand in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web John Bolton met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the nation of 10 million with an iron hand for a quarter century, showing little tolerance for dissent and independent media. Washington Post, "US national security adviser visits Belarus," 29 Aug. 2019 Not having mastered all Russian’s finer points didn’t keep Stalin from ruling the Soviet Union with a murderously effective iron hand. The Economist, "Why widely spoken languages have simpler grammar," 8 Aug. 2019 Like most white slave-owning women, Mary was directly involved in the cruel work of bending enslaved people to her will, ruling her 20 slaves with an iron hand and a tight fist. Marjoleine Kars, Washington Post, "Widow, slaveholder, mother of our first president," 25 July 2019 With college basketball now at a similar crossroads, the NCAA called on a commission, not an iron hand. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Does college basketball want the change it says it seeks?," 25 Apr. 2018 The Assad family ruled the country with an iron hand but largely abided by a de facto ceasefire with Israel, preferring that its terrorist allies do the direct fighting. Neri Zilber, Vox, "Israel and Iran’s escalating shadow war in Syria, explained," 25 Apr. 2018 Despite the government’s iron hand, street crime is surging. Washington Post, "Venezuela’s solution to a collapsing economy and rampant violence: Woo tourists," 12 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iron hand.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of iron hand

circa 1570, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for iron hand

Time Traveler

The first known use of iron hand was circa 1570

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Cite this Entry

“Iron hand.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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