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

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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 Even the elevation of the bully pulpit in the 20th century meant that the president, through his words, could affect public opinion in dramatic fashion. Julian Zelizer, CNN, 11 June 2021 In addition to the bully pulpit, the president also nominates people to committees that, ultimately, control the SBC’s seminaries and other agencies. Ian Lovett, WSJ, 11 June 2021 The huge megaphone of the White House — what President Theodore Roosevelt dubbed the bully pulpit — gives its occupants a powerful tool to advance their agendas. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2021 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has an enormous bully pulpit, last year asked Indians to stay indoors. New York Times, 14 Apr. 2021 Dear Annie: If his church receives nonprofit status, that preacher using the bully pulpit to push political views risks losing it if politics are discussed. cleveland, 9 Mar. 2021 Dear Annie: If his church receives nonprofit status, that preacher using the bully pulpit to push political views risks losing it if politics are discussed. cleveland, 9 Mar. 2021 As president, however, Biden is running up against the limits of the bully pulpit as mask-wearing remains politically polarized. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, 5 Mar. 2021 In the face of Trump’s bully pulpit, the public fled in the opposite direction. Corey Robin, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of bully pulpit

1963, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for bully pulpit

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The first known use of bully pulpit was in 1963

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bully pulpit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bully%20pulpit. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for bully pulpit

bully pulpit


English Language Learners Definition of bully pulpit

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


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