bully pulpit


Definition of bully pulpit

: a prominent public position (such as a political office) that provides an opportunity for expounding one's views also : such an opportunity

Bully vs Bully Pulpit

Bully pulpit comes from the 26th U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, who observed that the White House was a bully pulpit. For Roosevelt, bully was an adjective meaning "excellent" or "first-rate"—not the noun bully ("a blustering, browbeating person") that's so common today. Roosevelt understood the modern presidency's power of persuasion and recognized that it gave the incumbent the opportunity to exhort, instruct, or inspire. He took full advantage of his bully pulpit, speaking out about the danger of monopolies, the nation's growing role as a world power, and other issues important to him. Since the 1970s, bully pulpit has been used as a term for an office—especially a political office—that provides one with the opportunity to share one's views.

Examples of bully pulpit in a Sentence

She uses her position as a famous actress as a bully pulpit.
Recent Examples on the Web But some Democrats who did vote in 2020 are frustrated with the administration's failure to push through their agenda, pass the big-ticket legislation, and Biden's own reluctance -- or inability -- to use the bully pulpit to change people's minds. NBC News, 10 July 2022 The Mexican leader has pursued an energy agenda that threatens American companies and regularly uses his bully pulpit to discredit and personally insult those who question his government. New York Times, 5 July 2022 No, not necessarily always to just roll out big policy things, but to use kind of the bully pulpit and draw attention to things. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 8 June 2022 But that has not been enough to spare the Ukrainians, and Zelensky has now taken to using his Kyiv bunker as a bully pulpit to try and shame the world into joining his fight by imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2022 Using the bully pulpit For Cardona, keeping schools open is not good enough going forward. Katie Lobosco, CNN, 9 Feb. 2022 While the five-member, all-Republican board has no legal authority to determine what is taught in schools, its bully pulpit is seen as influential in a county that is a bastion of conservatism in an otherwise progressive state. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 17 May 2022 Legal and reproductive rights policy experts said that beyond using his bully pulpit, Mr. Biden’s options are limited. New York Times, 5 May 2022 Inside Twitter, that has confirmed some employees’ fears that Musk would use his bully pulpit to subject them to public scorn and harassment, rather than meeting with them privately as any worker might hope a boss would do. Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of bully pulpit

1963, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of bully pulpit was in 1963

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bully pulpit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bully%20pulpit. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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