strong·​man ˈstrȯŋ-ˌman How to pronounce strongman (audio)
: one who leads or controls by force of will and character or by military methods

Example Sentences

a Latin-American strongman who basically treated his nation's coffers as his personal bank account
Recent Examples on the Web The strength of a civic government was no match for a strongman. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2023 With the help of a diabolically evil strongman—he is called the Nameless One (l’Innominato), because no one dares speak his name—Don Rodrigo has hatched a plot to kidnap Lucia. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2022 The move breaks with an annual tradition that started in the early years of Putin’s presidency, and the cancellation, which had been widely expected, was the latest indication that Russia’s strongman leader is becoming increasingly remote. Rick Noack, Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2022 He was himself detained in 2020 following protests against the re-election of Belarus’ strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Putin. Leila Sackur, NBC News, 7 Oct. 2022 Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of the southern Russian republic of Chechnya and a close Putin ally, over the weekend blamed the Russian military leadership in a remarkable instance of public infighting within the ruling elite. Andrew E. Kramer,, 4 Oct. 2022 The senator refrained from taking a public stance on Trevor Reed’s captivity out of concern for antagonizing Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Dallas News, 9 May 2022 But Russian strongman Vladimir Putin's unprovoked assault on Ukraine has thrown Russia's previously warm relations with the Asian powers into question. CNN, 7 Mar. 2022 Looming over the election is President Rodrigo Duterte, who came to power on a populist wave in 2016 and has been criticized internationally over his strongman style and deadly anti-drug campaign. Jennifer Jett, NBC News, 8 May 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'strongman.' 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

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of strongman was in 1859

Dictionary Entries Near strongman

Cite this Entry

“Strongman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

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