Some people even require that they be kept in tight rein. Of course, we are talking about the figurative meaning of the phrase – hedgehogs are not used in the manufacture of garments.
♥ BY TOPIC: 29 logos with masterfully hidden subtext.
What does it mean and how did the phrase “keep it tight” originate?
When we say “keep tight,” we mean complete and unquestioning obedience, strict obedience. But where did this expression come from and is it really connected with the gloomy name of Nikolai Yezhov?
The myth about the connection of expression with the Stalinist regime gave rise to a poster by the artist Efimov, on which the People’s Commissar in prickly mittens holds the many-headed hydra of various enemies of the people. It is Yezhov who is considered one of the organizers of the repressions of 1937, because he then headed the NKVD. And these terrible years themselves were even nicknamed “nightmare.” So the reference to the drug addict and his grip is understandable and obvious. Actually the story of the phrase is much richer.
The expression “hold in the sandbox” can be found much earlier in the works of Chekhov and Pushkin. And the German general in “The Captain’s Daughter” was even surprised at this phrase, considering it some kind of Russian proverb. Even in the dictionaries of the XVIII century, you can find the proverb “Hedgehogs and take on a soft body.” What kind of mittens are these? Are they spiky like a hedgehog?
In this context, “hedgehog” does not mean “from a hedgehog” or “similar to a hedgehog”, but “for a hedgehog”. When mice were planted in the cellars of peasant houses, not only cats, but also hedgehogs, help in the fight against them. They themselves will not climb into an unfamiliar place, so they had to craft special hedgehog gloves made of thick leather without fur or lining. They were also called shingles. In such mittens, it was possible to take a prickly creature and carry it to new lands, to hunt. Yes, and in the work hard shanks were suitable, protecting hands from damage.
In Dahl’s meeting, there was a place for the saying “Hedgehog learn to master,” a phrase that is similar in meaning to the modern phrase “keep it tight.” Literally, this means that you can hold someone tight without fear of bites, attacks or injections, forcing you to take the necessary actions. So the hedgehog mittens are not at all that prickly, much less related to the flayer.