carry a big stick(redirected from carrying a big stick)
carry a big stick
Be prepared for confrontation by displaying one's power, especially elements of force. The phrase is a shortened version of "speak softly and carry a big stick," which was popularized by US President Theodore Roosevelt in a 1903 speech. The notion that you have to carry a big stick to be a player on the world stage is hopefully coming to an end.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
carry a big stickor
wield a big stick
If someone carries a big stick or wields a big stick, they have a lot of power, and so they can get what they want. Supermarkets these days carry a big stick and farmers have very little power to negotiate prices. The company wields a big stick. It is the biggest brand in the world and now controls 44 per cent of the global market. Note: Big stick is used in many other structures with a similar meaning. They wanted peace, he said, but this big stick policy was forcing them into war. Compare with carrot and stick. Note: This expression comes from a saying which became widely known through a speech made by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903: `There is a homely old adage which runs, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."'
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012