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

The deposed strongman has been held under arrest in the capital, Khartoum, since the military removed him from power in April amid mass protests against his 30-year rule. Hussein Malla And Samy Magdy, USA TODAY, "Sudan’s former President Omar al-Bashir seen in public for first time since ouster," 14 June 2019 Demonstrators had been occupying the square in front of the military headquarters since early April, days before Sudan’s longtime strongman, Omar al-Bashir, was overthrown after 30 years in power. Fox News, "Sudan's military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters results in at least 100 dead: opposition group," 5 June 2019 The thousands of life-size figures included infantrymen, archers, chariots with horses, officials, servants, and even entertainers, such as musicians and a strongman. Kristin Baird Rattini, National Geographic, "Who was the Chinese emperor behind the terra-cotta warriors?," 3 June 2019 The elections, which the Turkish strongman had depicted as a fight for the country’s survival, were largely seen as a test of his support amid a sharp economic downturn. Zeynep Bilginsoy, The Seattle Times, "Turkey’s ruling party leads local elections but loses Ankara," 31 Mar. 2019 In the presidential contest, the Turkish strongman defeated the main opposition hopeful, Muharrem Ince, by taking about 53% of the vote, compared with Mr Ince’s 31%. The Economist, "Erdogan inaugurates a new political era in Turkey," 28 June 2018 The strongman plunked down a deposit for Russia’s advanced S-400 air-defense system in December 2017—months after Congress passed a law that triggers painful U.S. sanctions on governments that purchase Russian armaments. Eric Edelman And, WSJ, "Trump Can’t Afford to Go Soft on Turkey," 15 May 2019 The strongman even attended last year’s World Cup soccer final in Moscow, taking his place among other heads of state in luxury seating at the stadium. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Sudan leader’s iron grip finally slips amid protests," 12 Apr. 2019 President Omar al-Bashir was the second strongman forced from office amid protests this month after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria resigned following two decades in power. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Arab Spring Aftershocks Echo in North African Upheaval," 11 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for strongman

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for strongman

The first known use of strongman was in 1859

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on strongman

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with strongman

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for strongman

Britannica English: Translation of strongman for Arabic Speakers

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showing courage and determination

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