big stick


: threat especially of military or political intervention

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Joe Clark spoke strongly and carried a big stick. Brooklyn White, Essence, 30 Dec. 2020 Keeping silent, with a big stick With the border issue heating up, analysts say Modi faces a difficult diplomatic balancing act. Andrew Raine, CNN, 17 Feb. 2023 Jawhar Jordan walked softly into the postgame press conference and carried a big stick – or in this case, a silver baseball bat. Alexis Cubit, The Courier-Journal, 18 Dec. 2022 Very much a speak softly and carry a big stick car. Brendan Mcaleer, Car and Driver, 20 Oct. 2022 The hit product emerges, while the silhouette makes a big stick diplomacy statement. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 Sep. 2022 Jonathan Mellis is still awaiting trial after police body-camera footage captured him thrusting a big stick at officers on Jan. 6, aiming for the place on their necks between their helmets and body armor. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 19 Sep. 2022 So, that’s at least three pennant races for which any team could have Soto swinging a big stick in the middle of their lineup. Matt Young, Chron, 18 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'big stick.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1893, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of big stick was in 1893

Dictionary Entries Near big stick

Cite this Entry

“Big stick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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