Posted by ESC on December 01, 2004
In Reply to: An (the) iron hand (fist) in a (the) velvet glove posted by David FG on November 30, 2004
: : Where does this expression originally come from ?
: : http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/organizationleadership/warfortalent/performequa.asp
: Not sure about the original origin (if you will forgive the phrase) but I have always believed it came from the Latin 'Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re', which means (with a certain freedom of translation) something similar.
IRON HAND IN A VELVET GLOVE -- "Disguised firmness: a gentle demeanor concealing a resolute personality. Thomas Carlyle wrote in 'Latter-Day Pamphlets' : 'Soft of speech and manner, yet with an inflexible vigour of command...'iron hand in a velvet glove,' as Napoleon defined it.' Napoleon seems to have originated this phrase." "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).