a rod in pickle

a rod in pickle

obsolete A punishment or retaliation kept in store for future use. The prime minister insisted that Britain had a rod in pickle for any nation that dared encroach upon its sovereign borders in force.
See also: pickle, rod
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a rod in pickle

a punishment in store.
In pickle means ‘preserved ready for future use’. This form, which dates from the mid 17th century, has superseded an earlier mid 16th-century variant a rod in piss .
See also: pickle, rod
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in classic literature ?
"Because we've got a rod in pickle for those cursed pirates--"