Word of the Day : November 8, 2016

bully pulpit

noun BULL-ee-PULL-pit


: a prominent public position (as a political office) that provides an opportunity for expounding one's views; also : such an opportunity

Did You Know?

Bully pulpit comes from the 26th U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, who observed that the White House was a bully pulpit. For Roosevelt, bully was an adjective meaning "excellent" or "first-rate"—not the noun bully ("a blustering, browbeating person") that's so common today. Roosevelt understood the modern presidency's power of persuasion and recognized that it gave the incumbent the opportunity to exhort, instruct, or inspire. He took full advantage of his bully pulpit, speaking out about the danger of monopolies, the nation's growing role as a world power, and other issues important to him. Since the 1970s, bully pulpit has been used as a term for an office—especially a political office—that provides one with the opportunity to share one's views.


"Candidates for governor like to make people think they set the vision. But the governor has a bully pulpit and little else. He or she may be in a position to push or prod or convene a task force or two, but nothing happens if the other players don't agree." — Jay Evensen, The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), 28 Sept. 2016

"Land use is a local responsibility, and the federal government has limited power to make cities build more housing. Still, the Obama administration is increasingly using the bully pulpit to tell urban progressives that if they care about income inequality, they ought to care about building more housing.'" — Kerry Cavanaugh, The Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 2016

Test Your Vocabulary

What word begins with "r" and can refer to a raised platform on a stage, the curved end of a ship's bow, or the proboscis of an insect?



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