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I'm looking for an idiom that describes a completely veiled threat, like when someone says something that seems perfectly polite, but a person who is familiar with the situation would know that what they are saying actually has a sinister double meaning.

The closest thing I've come up with so far is, "iron fist in velvet glove", but that isn't quite what I want. Cambridge Dictionary says

used to describe someone who seems to be gentle but is in fact forceful and determined

I feel like I've heard an idiom that is something like "a velvet shrouded sword", and that it is a literary reference, but I can't find anything about it online, so perhaps I imagined it.

Edit

"put on hold as unclear what you're asking by MetaEd♦ 31 mins ago

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question."

I am asking for any synonyms of "Iron fist in velvet glove" and to know whether the expression, "velvet shrouded sword" sounds familiar to anyone

closed as unclear what you're asking by MetaEd Sep 5 '18 at 16:01

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I suppose it's central to the speak softly and carry a big stick approach that the other party should be able to see your big stick (or at least know you've got one, if you're hiding it behind your back), so I guess that doesn't quite cut it. – FumbleFingers Sep 5 '18 at 15:08
  • A word/phrase request must have details of research you’ve done, including solutions you’ve already rejected, and why. It must be narrow and specific enough that it has one clearly correct answer. Include the desired connotation, register, part of speech, and context in which it is to be used. Generally we also want your sentence. See: “Single word requests, crosswords, and the fight against mediocrity – ELU Meta”; “Real Questions Have Answers – SE Blog”. – MetaEd Sep 5 '18 at 16:08
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    "Silent but deadly" – Azor Ahai Sep 5 '18 at 16:37
  • Your edit doesn't really help. Even if this were reopened, it doesn't identify the specific single word or phrase that would satisfy your requirement. (We can't just provide a list of words and phrases, there need to be specific criteria for why one would be better than another.) Also, asking if anybody else has heard of a term is too subjective. – Jason Bassford Sep 5 '18 at 17:57
  • Here is a page containing idioms with the word "sword". Take a look and see if any jog your memory. In the meantime, please write a sample sentence where you would use this idiom. It can be taken from real life if you like, or be a line of a story. It would really help in reopening your question. It's simply not true that there has to be one correct answer, there might be several BUT it is important that users don't end up posting (wild) guesses. – Mari-Lou A Sep 5 '18 at 20:37
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I would suggest:

a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Wikipedia defines it as:

an idiom of Biblical origin used to describe those playing a role contrary to their real character with whom contact is dangerous, particularly false teachers.

In effect, according to the New Testament, Jesus said (Matthew 7:15):

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

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