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to have under the girdle
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Girdle \Gir"dle\, n. [OE. gurdel, girdel, AS. gyrdel, fr. gyrdan; akin to D. gordel, G. g["u]rtel, Icel. gyr?ill. See Gird, v. t., to encircle, and cf. Girth, n.] [1913 Webster] 1. That which girds, encircles, or incloses; a circumference; a belt; esp., a belt, sash, or article of dress encircling the body usually at the waist; a cestus. [1913 Webster] Within the girdle of these walls. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Their breasts girded with golden girdles. --Rev. xv. 6. [1913 Webster] 2. The zodiac; also, the equator. [Poetic] --Bacon. [1913 Webster] From the world's girdle to the frozen pole. --Cowper. [1913 Webster] That gems the starry girdle of the year. --Campbell. [1913 Webster] 3. (Jewelry) The line ofgreatest circumference of a brilliant-cut diamond, at which it is grasped by the setting. See Illust. of Brilliant. --Knight. [1913 Webster] 4. (Mining) A thin bed or stratum of stone. --Raymond. [1913 Webster] 5. (Zool.) The clitellus of an earthworm. [1913 Webster] Girdle bone (Anat.), the sphenethmoid. See under Sphenethmoid. Girdle wheel, a spinning wheel. Sea girdle (Zool.), a ctenophore. See Venus's girdle, under Venus. Shoulder, Pectoral, & Pelvic, girdle. (Anat.) See under Pectoral, and Pelvic. To have under the girdle, to have bound to one, that is, in subjection. [1913 Webster]