bully pulpit

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The president, with an unrivaled bully pulpit, has instituted policies that provide him a near-perfect message for those tasks. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Failure to Communicate," 2 Aug. 2018 Pfizer’s move Tuesday was the first clear example of Trump successfully using the bully pulpit to shame a drug maker into doing something that is ostensibly against its own interests. Erin Mershon, STAT, "What Pfizer, Trump, and consumers got out of a surprising deal — and what they didn’t," 11 July 2018 Instead of seeking to export this backward sensibility to Holland, Mr. Khan ought to use his bully pulpit to tamp down wild expectations from his people. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Pakistani Prior Restraint in Holland," 6 Sep. 2018 In recent years, veteran politicians supported by public employee unions have held the position, which also oversees the department of education and has a bully pulpit on school issues. Alejandro Lazo, WSJ, "Charters Fight Draws Big Money Into California Schools Chief Race," 4 Nov. 2018 Others say the president has used the bully pulpit to draw significant attention to the nation’s opioid epidemic. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump White House is months late on strategy on drugs despite opioid emergency," 27 Apr. 2018 The announcement marked a successful use of the bully pulpit for Trump and a relatively rapid concession by one of the country's largest companies. Damian Paletta, latimes.com, "Pfizer buckles under pressure from Trump, delays drug price increases," 11 July 2018 Yet time and again, the N.F.L. has been cowed by a president willing to use his bully pulpit to win political points and exact a measure of revenge on a league that rejected his efforts to buy a team. Ken Belson, New York Times, "The N.F.L. Still Has a Trump Problem," 5 June 2018 Contrary to a lot of hazy stereotypes, presidential efforts to use the bully pulpit have a tendency to backfire in exactly this way. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Support for immigration is surging in the Trump era," 5 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of bully pulpit

1963, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bully pulpit

Share bully pulpit

Listen to Our Podcast about bully pulpit

Dictionary Entries near bully pulpit

bullying

bullyism

bully-off

bully pulpit

bullyrag

bullyrook

bully tree

Statistics for bully pulpit

Last Updated

31 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bully pulpit

The first known use of bully pulpit was in 1963

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bully pulpit

bully pulpit

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bully pulpit

US : an important public position that allows a person to express beliefs and opinions to many people

More from Merriam-Webster on bully pulpit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bully pulpit

Comments on bully pulpit

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the perfect form or example of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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