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big stick

force, especially political or military, used by a government as a means of influence.
Origin of big stick
1895-1900, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for big stick
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So he buttoned up his great coat, and took his big stick in his hand, and started.

    The Wizard of West Penwith William Bentinck Forfar
  • But Eagle-eye chased him with a big stick and drove him away from the spot.

    The Later Cave-Men Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
  • His companion stood ready dressed for the journey, with his big stick in his hand.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • On top they say, is the governor with a big stick which he uses to thump his staff.

    Tartarin de Tarascon Alphonse Daudet
  • The man sprang up and rushed toward her with a big stick in his hand.

    Madge Morton's Trust Amy D. V. Chalmers
  • He had a big stick, and carried a large flat valise in one hand.

    Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton
  • Dick soon recovered his nerve, and hunting up a big stick, went cautiously in search of the reptile, which he found still coiled.

    Dick in the Everglades A. W. Dimock
British Dictionary definitions for big stick

big stick

(informal) force or the threat of using force
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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