- Used other than as an idiom: see velvet, handcuffs.
- (idiomatic) Golden handcuffs: any arrangement designed to provide favorable benefits or pay so as to discourage a participant from wanting to leave it.
2000, Jack A. Green, Contact: a Guide to Developing Effective Call Centre Skills:
2004 March 13, Billboard, volume 116, number 11, page 11:
- Inevitably, it turns out, singing other people's songs or having to collaborate with one's bandmates can sometimes feel like a prison sentence, albeit one with velvet handcuffs and minimum security.
2011, Christopher Shulgan, The Soviet Ambassador: The Making of the Radical Behind Perestroika:
- The transfer sounded prestigious, but it was definitely a demotion. This was the style of the Brezhnev Politburo: velvet handcuffs, but handcuffs nevertheless.