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big stick

force, especially political or military, used by a government as a means of influence.
Origin of big stick
An Americanism dating back to 1895-1900 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for big stick
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Instantly, each lad had armed himself with a big stick and had attacked him.

    The Boy Settlers

    Noah Brooks
  • He appeared right in front of us on the trail, flourishing a big stick.

    Dave Porter At Bear Camp Edward Stratemeyer
  • He had a big stick, and carried a large flat valise in one hand.

    Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton
  • He could not see what Sarah saw—a figure, a spirit, clutching a big stick.

  • But Eagle-eye chased him with a big stick and drove him away from the spot.

    The Later Cave-Men Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
  • On top they say, is the governor with a big stick which he uses to thump his staff.

    Tartarin de Tarascon Alphonse Daudet
  • Who was going to come down when you was hitting at him with that big stick?

    Quicksilver George Manville Fenn
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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