‘Play hardball’

When you play hardball with an individual, you get tough with him. You become aggressive and no longer handle him with kid gloves. This expression is mostly used in informal contexts.

Examples: ”When things became a little tough, the Prime Minister decided to play hardball with the Opposition. ”* ”Bush tried to play hardball with Sadaam and got himself into a terrible mess in Iraq.”

Source:  ‘Know Your English’ Series – The Hindu Daily, August 1 , 2005.

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