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ma•nip•u•la•tion(məˌnɪp yəˈleɪ ʃən)
backstairs influence Indirect control, as of an advisor; power to affect the opinions of one in charge. Backstairs refers to the private stairways of palaces, those used by unofficial visitors who had true access to or intimate acquaintance with the inner circles of government. Connotations of deceit and underhandedness were natural extensions of the “indirect” aspect of the backstairs. Examples of this usage are cited as early as the beginning of the 17th century. Today backstairs influence has come to mean the indirect influence or sway that given individuals or groups are able to exert over persons in power.
brainwashing A method of changing an individual’s attitudes or allegiances through the use of drugs, torture, or psychological techniques; any form of indoctrination. Alluding to the literal erasing of what is in or on one’s mind, brainwashing used to be associated exclusively with the conversion tactics used by totalitarian states on political dissidents. This use of the word gained currency in the early 20th century.
Ai Tze-chi was Red China’s chief indoctrinator or, as he was generally called, Brainwasher No. 1. (Time, May 26, 1952)
Today application of the phrase has been extended to include less objectionable but more subtle sources of control such as television and advertising.
in [someone’s] pocket To be under another’s influence or control; to be at the disposal or mercy of someone else. Dating from the turn of the 19th century, this expression evokes an image of one person being held in the pocket of another, much larger person, and thus conveys feelings of manipulation, insignificance, and helplessness.
Lord Gower … seemed charmed with her, sat in her pocket all the evening, both in a titter. (Countess Harriet Granville, Letters, 1812)
Although usually used in this interpersonal sense, in [someone’s ] pocket is applied to the control of inanimate objects as well.
He was sitting with the family seat in his pocket. (William Makepeace Thackeray, The English Humorists, 1851)
nose of wax A malleable or accommodating nature; a flexible or yielding attitude. This expression is clearly derived from the pliability of a waxen nose. Originally, the phrase alluded to the Holy Scriptures which, in 16th-century England, were subjected to multitudinous and often conflicting interpretations. The expression was later extended to include other controversial philosophies and laws that were subject to numerous explications.
Oral Tradition, that nose of wax, which you may turn and set, which way you like. (Anthony Horneck, The Crucified Jesus, 1686)
Although the expression’s initial figurative meaning has been virtually obsolete since the 16th and 17th centuries, nose of wax is still occasionally used in describing a wishy-washy or easily manipulated person.
He was a nose of wax with this woman. (Benjamin Disraeli, Endymion, 1880)
play both ends against the middle To play two opposing forces off against each other to one’s own advantage. According to several sources, “both ends against the middle” is a technique used to rig a deck of cards in dealing a game of faro; a dealer who used such a deck was said to be “playing both ends against the middle.” His maneuvers ensured that competing players lost and that he (or the house) won.
play cat and mouse with See HARASSMENT
play fast and loose To connive and finagle ingeniously but inconsiderately to gain one’s end; to say one thing and do another; to manipulate principles, facts, rules, etc., irresponsibly to one’s advantage. “Fast and Loose,” also called “Pricking the Belt,” was a cheating game from the 16th century practised by gypsies at fairs. The game required an individual to wager whether a belt was fast or loose. However, the belt would be doubled and coiled in such a way that its appearance prompted erroneous guesses and consequent losses. Shakespeare referred to the trick in Antony and Cleopatra:
Like a right gypsy hath at fast and loose
Beguiled me to the very heart of loss. (IV,xii)
And in King John, Shakespeare uses play fast and loose figuratively as it is also currently heard:
Play fast and loose with faith? So jest with heaven, … (III, i)
Procrustean bed See CRITERION.
pull [someone’s] chestnuts out of the fire To be forced to save someone else’s skin by risking one’s own; to extricate another from difficulty by solving his problem; to be made a cat’s paw of. This expression derives from the fable of the monkey and the cat. See cat’s paw, VICTIMIZATION.
pull strings To influence or manipulate persons or things secretly to one’s own advantage; used especially in reference to political maneuvering; also to pull wires.
Lord Durham appears to be pulling at 3 wires at the same time—not that the 3 papers—the Times, Examiner and Spectator are his puppets, but they speak his opinions. (Samuel Rogers, Letters to Lord Holland, 1834)
The allusion is to a puppeteer who, from behind the scenes, controls the movements of the puppets on stage by pulling on the strings or wires attached to them. Although both expressions date from the 19th century, to pull wires apparently predated to pull strings. The latter, however, is more commonly used today.
twist [someone] around one’s little finger To have complete control over, to have limitless influence upon, to have at one’s beck and call; also wind or turn or have [someone] around one’s little finger. Twist connotes the extreme malleability of the subject; little finger, the idea that the slightest movement or merest whim will suffice to manipulate him. The expression is often used of a woman’s power over a man.
Margaret … had already turned that functionary round her finger. (John Lothrop Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1855)
under [someone’s] thumb Under the influence, power, or control of; subordinate, subservient, or subject to. This expression alludes to controlling someone in the same way one can control a horse by pressing his thumb on the reins where they pass over the index finger.
She is obliged to be silent. I have her under my thumb. (Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, 1754)
work the oracle To wheel and deal, to scheme to one’s own advantage, especially for money-raising purposes; to engage in artful behind-the-scenes manipulation of those in a position to grant favors. This British expression uses oracle as the means or medium through which desired information or goods are obtained.
With … big local loan-mongers to work the oracle and swim with them. (John Newman, Scamping Tricks, 1891)
|Noun||1.||manipulation - exerting shrewd or devious influence especially for one's own advantage; "his manipulation of his friends was scandalous"|
influence - causing something without any direct or apparent effort
mind game - deliberate actions of calculated psychological manipulation intended to intimidate or confuse (usually for competitive advantage); "football players try to play mind games with the opposition"; "the jeweler's mind game is to convince lovers that the size of a gemstone reflects the depth of their feelings"
|2.||manipulation - the action of touching with the hands (or the skillful use of the hands) or by the use of mechanical means|
touching, touch - the act of putting two things together with no space between them; "at his touch the room filled with lights"
fielding - (baseball) handling the ball while playing in the field