Have Someone in the Palm of One’s Hand

Also: Be in the palm of one’s hand

Meaning of Idiom ‘To Have Someone in the Palm Of One’s Hand’

To have someone in the palm of one’s hand is to have control or influence over someone; to have someone in one’s power; to be able to get someone to do as you wish. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms]. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995. ,3Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

Also, in regards to a performance or speech to have an (audience) in the palm of one’s hand means to have their complete attention; to hold them rapt.

Examples of Use

“They thought she had me in the palm of her hand but they were wrong.”

“They say he has the president in the palm of his hand but the president is fickle and unpredictable.”

“You’re not going to get away with this,” said the lawyer. “I’ve got the mayor in the palm of my hand,” said Pamela. “I think I’ll be OK.”

“Michelle has always had Cody in the palm of her hand. He’ll do anything she says.”

“He was nervous before doing his first stand up performance but within the first few minutes he had the audience in the palm of his hand.”

“He was the quintessential chess master. Within the first few moves, he had his opponent in the palm of his hand.”

“How will we get Geoffrey to go along with the plan?” asked Henry. “Geoffrey is not a problem. He’s in the palm of my hand,” said Karl.

Origin

Used since at least 1900, this idiom alludes to holding a person in the palm of one’s hand and thus having complete power over them.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms]. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.
3. Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.