One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In a helpless position; at someone's mercy.
- ‘Like many of the video covers they show, they have you over a barrel and the price is slightly higher than it should be.’
- ‘We've got you over a barrel, because you and your taxpayers have no choice but to see this through, so why should we pay?’
- ‘Supermarkets have the farmer over a barrel, he suggested.’
- ‘The radio stations dictate success or failure for most artists, and have the record companies over a barrel.’
- ‘We've got them over a barrel now, they are already trying to settle!’
- ‘The award also upped his asking price, supposes Broadbent, ‘although, if you're intent upon doing good work, producers know they have you over a barrel.’’
- ‘Bill Greenshields, secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Derbyshire, says the staff feel they are being put over a barrel.’
- ‘Opec, the powerful consortium of the world's oil-producing countries, meets in Vienna today, and they have us over a barrel as the oil price hits $35.’
- ‘‘I felt I was being held over a barrel - I did not have time to find anywhere else, so it was that or nothing,’ said Wilkins, her rent now £2,003 a month.’
- ‘Because the collective wisdom of industrial relations seems to be, that if you have your opponent over a barrel, you can name your price.’
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