Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts
have (somebody) over a barrel
have over a barrelhave somebody over a barrel
1) have/put (someone) in a difficult situation or at your mercy
How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional MediumSocial
my boss has me over a barrel because he/she knows I need the work
The idiom to 'have someone over a barrel' means to have someone in a position where you can influence them to do what you want because you have given them very little choice or limited options. This phrase is often used in relation to a financial situation. similar in meaning to 'have someone on the ropes' or to be 'between a rock and a hard place'. To be 'over a barrel' means to be in a position where you are vulnerable or can be taken advantage of.
Social Examples (Advance)
I have Sam over a barrelbecause he knows that I will tell the police about what happened if he doesn't do what I ask.
He has me over a barrel since he caught me out with Johns wife.
Professional Examples (Advance)
Staff demands were not met as management knows they have them over a barrel due to a shortage of jobs.
The price is so high because the seller has us over a barrel. There's no one else we can go to to buy the product.
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