tighten/put the thumbscrews on

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of tighten/put the thumbscrews on

: to use harsh measures to force (a person or group) to do something or stop doing something
  • The government is tightening/putting the thumbscrews on dissenters.

Word by Word Definitions

tighten play
  1. : to make tight or tighter

  2. : to become tight or tighter

put play
  1. : to place in a specified position or relationship : lay

  2. : to move in a specified direction

  3. : to send (something, such as a weapon or missile) into or through something : thrust

  1. : a throw made with an overhand pushing motion

  2. : an option to sell a specified amount of a security (such as a stock) or commodity (such as wheat) at a fixed price at or within a specified time — compare call 3d

  1. : being in place : fixed, set

thumbscrew play thumbscrews
  1. : an instrument of torture for compressing the thumb by a screw

  2. : a screw having a flat-sided or knurled head so that it may be turned by the thumb and index finger


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