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

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Lia Grimanis, the founder of Up with Women, an organization that helps recently homeless women and families, regards the ramrod-straight with awe. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, "Is the Pandemic Breaking Our Backs?," 22 Mar. 2021 Each morning, Chauvin stood ramrod straight to welcome Cahill into the courtroom. Washington Post, "Hints of strategy and new revelations in first week of Derek Chauvin murder trial," 15 Mar. 2021 Cher’s contemplative expression and ramrod sedentary posture gave her the aura of a Byzantine icon. New York Times, "Site Information Navigation," 9 Dec. 2020 Emma’s closeted girlfriend (Ariana DeBose) is the daughter of the ramrod-straight PTA head portrayed by Washington. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Prom’ review: Broadway babies save the day, and deliver some social justice to small-town Indiana," 7 Dec. 2020 More significantly, they are loaded through the barrel like an old Revolutionary War musket, with the bullet tamped down with a ramrod. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "MeatEater’s Steven Rinella is helping America rethink its relationship with hunting," 23 Oct. 2020 Fred Darling — whose ramrod-straight military persona faced a constant joyful barrage at home — put his foot down on snakes. Washington Post, "Norma Darling led a life of love and duty, delighting those around her," 21 Sep. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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, "Prince Philip Dies At 99 At Windsor; Queen Elizabeth’s Message Expresses Her ‘Deep Sorrow’ As Britain Engages In An Outpouring Of Grief," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "G. Gordon Liddy, 1930-2021," 1 Apr. 2021 Yeager may be in a dogfight with Father Time, but his bearing is still ramrod straight. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Aviator Chuck Yeager met with USA TODAY as a feisty legend in 2012," 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, "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.

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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

24 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ramrod.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ramrod. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on ramrod

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ramrod

Nglish: Translation of ramrod for Spanish Speakers

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