have the world by the tail

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Verb[edit]

have the world by the tail

  1. (idiomatic) To possess great influence and opportunity.
    • 1919, William MacLeod Raine, chapter 15, in A Man Four-Square:
      "Webb thinks he's got the world by the tail for a downhill pull. I'll show him."
    • 1938 Feb. 28, "Give Us Colonies!!," Time (retrieved 7 August 2013):
      No nation had the World by the tail this week, but the rear end of the British lion was within measurable distance of Adolf Hitler's grasp.
    • 1992 Sept. 24, Sara Rimer, "Company News: Hearing the Fears, With No Answers," New York Times (retrieved 7 August 2013):
      "You think you're set. You think everything's taken care of. I thought I had the world by the tail."

Usage notes[edit]

  • Also appears in such similar phrases as grab the world by the tail, got the world by the tail.
  • Often used in describing a situation in which a person possesses great, and perhaps excessive, self-confidence.

See also[edit]