have someone by the balls

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have someone by the balls

  1. (idiomatic, vulgar) To exercise total control over someone.
    • November 13 2012, Socialitelife.com, ‘Dexter’ Recap: ‘Chemistry’[1]
      Angel Batista immediately makes the connection that Quinn has been banging Nadia, a stripper working for Isaac’s people. Quinn adamantly denies that he would steal evidence and then storms into the strip club to demand that Nadia be set free. Unfortunately, they have him by the balls because they could kill Nadia at any moment and destroy Quinn’s police career once and for all if they revealed his tampering with evidence.
    • 2004, Mark A. Roeder, Someone is Watching, page 138:
      I feared what was to come. I was knuckling under to my blackmailer. It was a sure sign of weakness. If he didn't already, he'd know he had me by the balls as soon as he saw me wearing the shirt.
    • 1992, Ani DiFranco, I'm No Heroine
      You think I wouldn't have him
      Unless I could have him by the balls
      You think I just dish it out
      You don't think I take it at all