• synonyms


  1. a rod for ramming down the charge of a muzzleloading firearm.
  2. a cleaning rod for the barrel of a firearm.
  3. a strict disciplinarian; martinet.
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verb (used with object), ram·rod·ded, ram·rod·ding.
  1. to exert discipline and authority on.
  2. to strike or injure with or as if with a ramrod.
  3. to accomplish or put into action by force, intimidation, etc.: to ramrod a bill through Congress.
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Origin of ramrod

First recorded in 1750–60; ram1 + rod
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ramrod

Historical Examples of ramrod

  • Monsieur Carmaignac was little, lean, and as straight as a ramrod.

    The Room in the Dragon Volant

    J. Sheridan LeFanu

  • He was tiny, but straight as a ramrod in his natty khaki uniform.

    Sure Pop and the Safety Scouts

    Roy Rutherford Bailey

  • "They're not loaded," said I, after trying them with the ramrod.

  • He jammed it all down with the ramrod, and I was never able to get it up again.

  • He was straight as a ramrod; there was self-confidence in his carriage and pride in his mien.

    The Wrong Woman

    Charles D. Stewart

British Dictionary definitions for ramrod


  1. a rod for cleaning the barrel of a rifle or other small firearms
  2. a rod for ramming in the charge of a muzzle-loading firearm
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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

Word Origin and History for ramrod


1757, literally "a rod used in ramming" (the charge of a gun), from ram (v.) + rod. Used figuratively for straightness or stiffness from 1939, also figuratively for formality, primness (ramroddy is in Century Dictionary, 1902). The verb is 1948, from the noun. Related: Ramrodded; ramrodding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper