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
3 : boss, overseer



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 figuratively He 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ramrod

Synonyms: Adjective

austere, authoritarian, flinty, hard, harsh, heavy-handed, rigid, rigorous, severe, stern, strict, tough

Antonyms: Adjective

clement, forbearing, gentle, indulgent, lax, lenient, tolerant

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Examples of ramrod in a Sentence


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

Tall, slender and with ramrod straight posture, Wright takes the audience along with her on her journey. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: ‘Language Archive’ talks the talk," 18 July 2019 Salmon radiates power, perpetually standing ramrod-straight in his striking costume, which suggests both military and royal authority. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "In season 2, Krypton keeps viewers guessing," 12 June 2019 Guyger sat ramrod straight during the proceedings at the Frank Crowley Courts Building just outside downtown Dallas. Jennifer Emily, Dallas News, "Fired Dallas officer Amber Guyger appears in court for murder case in fatal shooting of Botham Jean," 6 June 2019 DeAngelo stood stone-faced and ramrod straight in a courtroom cage, never looking at the courtroom packed with survivors, relatives, reporters and at least a half-dozen armed bailiffs. Fox News, "Golden State Killer suspect faces consolidated charges," 23 Aug. 2018 The woman on his hip stood ramrod straight, proudly displaying a navy blue InfoWars T-shirt. Zach Schermele, Teen Vogue, "Student Journalists are More Important Than Ever Before in the Trump Era," 18 July 2018 Some walk or point (the men), others are ramrod still (the women). Jason Farago, New York Times, "Giacometti: Beguiled by Thin Men and Women," 6 June 2018 Seeing Lisa standing ramrod straight with a loaded Glock in her hand was as startling to me as seeing her in front of an orchestra waving a baton. David Sedaris, The New Yorker, "Active Shooter," 17 Mar. 2018 Just about anything the IDF buys will be used in action sooner or later—probably sooner—a reality that Tzuker, a ramrod-straight former infantry officer, understood better than most. Matthew Campbell, Bloomberg.com, "Benjamin Netanyahu Could Be Heading for a Fifth Term. Or to Court," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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.

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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

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Statistics for ramrod

Last Updated

3 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ramrod

The first known use of ramrod was in 1706

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More Definitions for ramrod



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ramrod

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ramrod

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ramrod

Spanish Central: Translation of ramrod

Nglish: Translation of ramrod for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ramrod

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