strong·​man | \ ˈstrȯŋ-ˌman How to pronounce strongman (audio) \

Definition of strongman

: one who leads or controls by force of will and character or by military methods

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Examples of strongman in a Sentence

a Latin-American strongman who basically treated his nation's coffers as his personal bank account
Recent Examples on the Web Although arguably less effective, Democrats also took a page out of the GOP book, casting Trump as a would-be caudillo, or strongman, likening him to Castro, Chavez and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Romina Ruiz-goiriena, USA TODAY, "Latino voters who fled dictatorships demand four more years for Trump," 17 Nov. 2020 Rafael Correa, the country’s strongman between 2007 and 2017, hopes to return to power via a proxy candidate, Andrés Arauz, a young economist. The Economist, "The problem of Latin America’s proxy presidents," 14 Nov. 2020 The other, strongman Alberto Fujimori, is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses, corruption, and sanctioning death squads during his 1990-2000 administration. Christine Armario And Franklin Briceno, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Peruvians are protesting against their new government," 12 Nov. 2020 If this election has brought anything into the collective public consciousness, it’s that Black women should be recognized for more than rescuing the country from a would-be strongman with nuclear codes. Erika D. Smith Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: All hail the new ‘queenmaker’ of Black politics in California," 11 Nov. 2020 Last but not least among the tools of the strongman is corruption. Federico Finchelstein, The New Republic, "It’s Already Happening Here," 3 Nov. 2020 In Belarus, hundreds of women were arrested last week while marching in Minsk to protest the return to power of the country’s strongman, President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. New York Times, "Young Women Take a Frontline Role in Thailand’s Protests," 24 Sep. 2020 Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro said that his government captured a U.S. spy near oil refineries on its northern coast. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "'The gringo empire wants revenge': Maduro says Venezuela has captured CIA spy near refinery," 12 Sep. 2020 On Sunday, Chile votes on another referendum aimed at erasing a key pillar of Pinochet’s legacy — the 1980 constitution approved under the strongman’s rule. Jorge Poblete, Los Angeles Times, "A year after nationwide protests, Chile goes to the polls on new constitution," 24 Oct. 2020

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

1859, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of strongman was in 1859

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Strongman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

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How to pronounce strongman (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of strongman

: a politician or leader who uses violence or threats
: a man who performs in a circus and who is very strong

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Britannica English: Translation of strongman for Arabic Speakers

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