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I'm trying to describe somebody who is generous, loving, and warm, but also capable of harsh retaliation if somebody crosses them. In other words, a person with a heart of gold who can "take care of him/herself".

4 Answers 4

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free dictionary

the closest phrase I can think of would be;

"an iron fist in a velvet glove"

it's not ideal and would usually be used to describe someone who would take the soft approach first and then the harder line.

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Moral. Those are universal moral tenets.

http://personal.tcu.edu/pwitt/universal%20values.pdf

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Maybe you could say, "a gentle giant".

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    Can you explain what the phrase means, give examples of how it has been used, and tell why it makes a good answer to the question?
    – jejorda2
    Feb 19, 2016 at 17:24
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Paladin (Dictionary.com)

Any determined advocate or defender of a noble cause.

Knightly (Dictionary.com)

Characteristic of a knight; noble, courageous, and generous.

Neither of these words, by themselves, really carries the suggestion of "loving and warm" (I'm wracking my brain looking for such a word but no luck so far) but that easily comes across in the context or can be added by some other modifier. A tender knight, a loving paladin. He was her paladin.

A fierce protector.

An uncompromising guardian.

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