ramrod

1 of 4

noun

ram·​rod ˈram-ˌräd How to pronounce ramrod (audio)
1
: a rod for ramming home the charge in a muzzle-loading firearm
2
: a cleaning rod for small arms
3

ramrod

2 of 4

adjective

: marked by rigidity, severity, or stiffness

ramrod

3 of 4

verb

ramrodded; ramrodding; ramrods

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 Leviton
They 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

ramrod

4 of 4

adverb

: in a fully upright position : rigidly
sat ramrod straight

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
In private, Mayorkas—who is short, fit, and bald, with bushy eyebrows and a cadet’s ramrod posture—is ironic, sharp-witted, and charismatic, a raconteur who leaps out of his seat to exaggerate a detail or deliver a punch line. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, 17 Feb. 2024 General Kitson was short and stocky, with a ramrod posture and a high, nasal voice. Clay Risen, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Ditto Jeremy Allen White’s David, the stocky would-be Olympian who’s recruited into the ring by his ramrod Great Santini of a father, and ends up doing better on the circuit then both of them. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 20 Dec. 2023 There was another, more admirable side to that stubbornness and refusal to quit: A ramrod determination and unsinking resilience that girded Feinstein through a lifetime filled with maelstrom. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 The parents—a dapper young fogy with ramrod posture and a soulful, slightly rumpled bluestocking—stand behind two tidy little girls in matching sailor suits. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 Since breaking his leg last summer, Blomstedt — tall, angular, and ramrod-straight as ever — now conducts seated on a piano bench. Hannah Edgar, Chicago Tribune, 10 Mar. 2023 Yet in his own starring vehicle, Black Adam is barely cooler than Hawkman, who Hodge plays as oddly likable in his ramrod straightness. Jesse Hassenger, Chron, 18 Oct. 2022 Every corporate real-estate office, fast-food restaurant, nail salon, and family dry cleaner’s posted a picture of Her Majesty in its shopwindow, her ramrod bearing adding an incongruous glamour to the premises, no matter how modest. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2022
Adjective
That included tutorials on how to talk to older Black people, to drop some of his ramrod military formality and to be more self-deprecating in the store. Margaret Coker, ProPublica, 19 Jan. 2023 Nine months later, the parish's electric lines have been replaced by ramrod straight poles. Rebecca Santana, ajc, 30 May 2021 He was beloved by the British for his no-nonsense air, his ramrod straight Navy-man's posture, and his blunt words laced with a certain old-school humor at events public and private. Guy Martin, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021
Verb
Into the Great Unknown, then, goes Donald H. Rumsfeld, who died Tuesday at 88, and whose tenure as George W. Bush’s defense secretary was a monument to both ramrod certainty and tactical equivocation, the twin dogmas of Washington. Washington Post, 1 July 2021 Biles sprinted down the runway, did a roundoff onto the springboard followed by a back handspring onto the vault, finishing with two backflips with her legs ramrod straight and her hands seemingly magnetized to her hamstrings. Arkansas Online, 23 May 2021 His physical appearance, ramrod straight with piercing eyes, thinning hair, and a voluminous mustache, only added to his appeal for admirers. Philip Terzian, Washington Examiner, 1 Apr. 2021 Yeager may be in a dogfight with Father Time, but his bearing is still ramrod straight. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 9 Dec. 2020 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, 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, 30 June 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ramrod.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1850, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1954, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ramrod was in 1706

Dictionary Entries Near ramrod

Cite this Entry

“Ramrod.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ramrod. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

ramrod

1 of 3 noun
ram·​rod ˈram-ˌräd How to pronounce ramrod (audio)
: a rod for ramming the charge down the barrel in a muzzle-loading firearm

ramrod

2 of 3 adjective
: not flexible : very strict

ramrod

3 of 3 adverb
: in a fully upright position : rigidly
sat ramrod straight

More from Merriam-Webster on ramrod

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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