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Tener la mano muy larga

 

An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not readily apparent based on the individual words in the expression. This forum is dedicated to discussing idioms and other sayings.


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  #1  
Old October 31, 2019, 02:39 AM
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Tener la mano muy larga

how do we say tener la mano muy larga?
a person has la mano muy larga when he or she hits everybody with the hand at the slightest chance.
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  #2  
Old October 31, 2019, 01:02 PM
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I think a menace would work here.
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Old November 01, 2019, 12:05 AM
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That's an interesting use of the expression. "Tener la mano larga" in Mexico means to be a thief. "To have sticky fingers", probably. (?)
And "tener las manos largas" is used to talk about a groper.

I Googled it and I found "to be free with one's hands", but I found very few examples, so how commonly is this expression used?
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Old November 01, 2019, 12:32 AM
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When someone strikes another person, especially a spouse or a child, we say they "rule with an iron fist/hand." But it usually means they act authoritatively, without mercy.
When someone slaps people "just because," we could say that they're slapping people "on a whim." Not much thought is given to the act. Nothing is planned. It could be just for fun. The phrase is neutral. It's not positive or negative. But most people don't slap others just for the fun of it.

"To be free with one's hands" can mean "to be quick to lash out (on somebody)," but it can also mean "to grope" and "to pilfer (rob/steal)."
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Old November 02, 2019, 04:29 PM
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I see. Thank you, Rusty!
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Old November 15, 2019, 01:52 PM
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I've thought that "tener la mano pesada" is a decent translation for "to rule with an iron fist" or "to be heavy handed."


Now for the expression "Tener la mano muy larga." If that means a person who hits people at the slightest provocation or is always wanting to fight (buscapleitos?), I might say "he's looking for a fight," "he's a bully," "he's authoritarian," "he likes to throw his weight around," "he's quick to come to blows," etc., though it depends on the exact meaning of what's intended with "tener la mano muy larga."
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