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

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 Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic, and Deng Xiaoping, the strongman leader who unleashed market reforms in 1978. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2021 Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has been shunned by much of the international community and has been under US sanctions since 2006, has cracked down sharply on protesters and journalists in the country. Jennifer Hansler, CNN, 9 Aug. 2021 The chairman of the country’s national Olympic committee is the eldest son of Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, the strongman leader who has held power in Belarus for 27 years. New York Times, 2 Aug. 2021 The Russian strongman oppresses people at home, true. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 15 Oct. 2021 Vice president Leni Robredo, another critic of the strongman president, applauded her. Anne Quito, Quartz, 10 Oct. 2021 And, of course, the strongman isn’t one to play a supporting role. William Pesek, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 The strongman has made clear that Minsk is weaponizing the migrants over the European Union’s sanctions on his government’s elites and some Belarusian industries. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 25 Aug. 2021 This segment of What’s Ahead asks—and not totally facetiously—if the Biden Administration is as hostile to free markets as is China’s strongman Xi Jinping. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021

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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Time Traveler for strongman

Time Traveler

The first known use of strongman was in 1859

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Dictionary Entries Near strongman



strong mayor

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Strongman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for strongman



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

More from Merriam-Webster on strongman

Britannica English: Translation of strongman for Arabic Speakers


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