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big stick

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noun
  1. force, especially political or military, used by a government as a means of influence.
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Origin of big stick

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for big stick

big stick

noun
  1. informal force or the threat of using force
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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