big stick


Definition of big stick

: threat especially of military or political intervention

Examples of big stick in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Hong Kong’s market regulator has taken out the big stick against four global investment banks for cutting corners on IPOs. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Hong Kong Must Give Critical Voices Freer Rein," 15 Mar. 2019 Recently, America is brandishing the trade war big stick, smacking other countries at will. Paul Mozur, New York Times, "China’s Official News Media Sharply Criticize Trump," 16 June 2018 One of the biggest sticking points here is Chrome; Google's browser is the most widely used third-party application on Windows. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft joining Qualcomm and Google to bring Chrome to Windows on ARM," 21 Nov. 2018 The Irish border was one of the Brexit deals biggest sticking points The UK and the EU are in the midst of trying to finalize the terms of their breakup, a tangled process that’s gone on for more than a year. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Theresa May gets cabinet approval for her draft Brexit deal," 14 Nov. 2018 Pressure to beat the Nazis to the ultimate punch; pressure to have the biggest stick on the playground. Paul Ross, Popular Mechanics, "I Am Become Opera: An Atomic Show In the Shadow of Los Alamos," 27 July 2018 Denuclearization This is the biggest sticking point between the two sides. Fortune, "What a Trump-Kim Deal Could Look Like — From Good to Bad to Worse," 31 May 2018 Their respect is earned not by wielding the big stick, but instead by wielding the big brain. Jamie Samuelsen, Detroit Free Press, "David Griffin is front-runner, Becky Hammon most intriguing for Pistons," 10 May 2018 Walk softly and carry a very big stick or an aircraft carrier battle group. Fox News, "Oliver North: Official says Israel responded to Iran," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'big stick.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of big stick

1893, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about big stick

Dictionary Entries near big stick

big spender

Big Spring

Big Steel

big stick

Big Stone

Big Sur

big talk

Statistics for big stick

Last Updated

9 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for big stick

The first known use of big stick was in 1893

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for big stick

big stick


English Language Learners Definition of big stick

: a threat to use violence or force to make a person, group, country, etc., do something

More from Merriam-Webster on big stick

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with big stick

Comments on big stick

What made you want to look up big stick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!