ram·​rod | \ ˈram-ˌräd How to pronounce ramrod (audio) \

Definition of ramrod

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a rod for ramming home the charge in a muzzle-loading firearm
2 : a cleaning rod for small arms



Definition of ramrod (Entry 2 of 4)

: marked by rigidity, severity, or stiffness


ramrodded; ramrodding; ramrods

Definition of ramrod (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to force with a ramrod ramrodded the charge into the muzzle often used figurativelyHe refused to be ramrodded into his decision.… a self-made millionaire and visionary entrepreneur who as the fair's chairman ramrodded the project through from conception to completion.— Joyce LevitonThey tried to ramrod the bill through the legislature.
2 : to direct, supervise, and control … the police sergeant chosen by Dick Snider to ramrod his fledgling Border Crime Task Force.— Joseph Wambaugh



Definition of ramrod (Entry 4 of 4)

: in a fully upright position : rigidly sat ramrod straight

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of ramrod in a Sentence

Adjective a ramrod camp director who's been known to send kids home for a minor infraction of the rules
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Naird’s situation is of a man with ramrod-straight posture prostrated and disarrayed at many odd angles. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "In Netflix’s “Space Force,” Steve Carell Is Stranded Between the Caustic and the Cutesy," 28 May 2020 Other key features include a Quake Claw sling, reversible cocking spur, and a solid aluminum PalmSaver ramrod. Brad Fitzpatrick, Outdoor Life, "The 8 Best Modern Muzzleloaders," 26 Feb. 2019 Both have ramrod posture and large unblinking eyes. New York Times, "Word + Quiz: metronome," 2 Mar. 2020 Its protagonist, played with ramrod conviction by Gary Cooper, is a dogmatic modern architect, Howard Roark, who would prefer to starve than to build in the classical style. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "An executive order to ‘make federal buildings beautiful again’ is a needless distraction," 7 Feb. 2020 Members of a Marine honor guard trailed behind, clad in navy blue uniforms, white caps and white gloves, marching ramrod-straight to muffled drums and the clip-clop of horse hoofs. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, "He was a baby when his dad died in Afghanistan. He’s 18 now, and the war still isn’t over.," 26 Nov. 2019 This was his last season as ramrod of Little Dease Ventures. oregonlive, "Bill Monroe: Admiring grit, toasting friendship on a lake in British Columbia," 12 Oct. 2019 The troops stood, ramrod straight, in their Army and Marine Corps dress uniforms, in silence, each man and woman giving a slow salute with a white-gloved hand as the name of a fallen service member was called. David Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Aberdeen Proving Ground leaders honor 29 fallen service members for Gold Star Mothers’ and Families’ Day," 8 Oct. 2019 In the klatch of voters watching from their lawn chairs, a woman in a blue windbreaker, maybe in her late twenties, sat ramrod straight, the phone tightly gripped in her hand forgotten for the moment. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Pete Buttigieg’s Undeniable Allure," 4 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Christians and pro-democracy supporters are worried the Chinese government could make another attempt to ramrod legislation in Hong Kong that would specifically target the faith community and strip basic human rights. Fox News, "Hong Kong Christians fear religious freedom could be 'gone forever'," 17 Sep. 2019 As the state-of-the-art hydraulics move her into position, her posture shifts from millennial slump to ramrod straight. TIME.com, "Game of Thrones: How They Make the World’s Most Popular Show," 30 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ramrod.' 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 ramrod


1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1850, in the meaning defined above


1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1954, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ramrod

Time Traveler for ramrod

Time Traveler

The first known use of ramrod was in 1706

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ramrod

Cite this Entry

“Ramrod.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ramrod. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ramrod


How to pronounce ramrod (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ramrod

: a metal bar that is used to push explosive material down into the barrel of some old-fashioned guns


ram·​rod | \ ˈram-ˌräd How to pronounce ramrod (audio) \

Kids Definition of ramrod

: a rod for forcing the charge down the barrel in a firearm that is loaded through the muzzle

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ramrod

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ramrod

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ramrod

Spanish Central: Translation of ramrod

Nglish: Translation of ramrod for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ramrod

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!