[strawng-ahrm, strong-]


using, involving, or threatening the use of physical force or violence to gain an objective: strong-arm methods.

verb (used with object)

to use violent methods upon; assault.
to rob by force.
to coerce by threats or intimidation; bully: They strong-armed me into voting for the plan.

Origin of strong-arm

An Americanism dating back to 1820–30 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for strong-arm

Contemporary Examples of strong-arm

Historical Examples of strong-arm

  • Aubrey and the bunch are talking about making a strong-arm squad around me for protection.

    My Wonderful Visit

    Charlie Chaplin

  • It was safe to assume that this was one of the things the professional "strong-arm man" would not do.

    The Price

    Francis Lynde

  • Saturninus was the first of the Roman politicians to rely as a regular practice upon "strong-arm methods" to carry elections.

  • When we crossed the equator, a committee of strong-arm men baptized those of the passengers who had never before crossed the line.

    In Africa

    John T. McCutcheon

  • I can see what would happen to me—Julius Marston doing it—if I give the strong-arm squad an opening.

British Dictionary definitions for strong-arm



(modifier) relating to or involving physical force or violencestrong-arm tactics


(tr) to show violence towards
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 strong-arm

"using physical force," 1897, from noun phrase (c.1600), from strong (adj.) + arm (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper