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


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.


Moral. Those are universal moral tenets.



Maybe you could say, "a gentle giant".

  • 2
    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

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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