talk tough

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talk tough

To speak or communicate in a way intended to intimidate or elicit fear or respect in the listener. We need to talk tough when it comes to national security or our enemies will perceive us as weak. John tries to talk tough, but he's really just a puppy dog.
See also: talk, tough

talk ˈtough (on something)

(informal, especially American English) tell people very strongly what you want: Before the elections, the party talked tough on crime, but little has been done since they’ve been in power.
See also: talk, tough
References in periodicals archive ?
com/trump-talks-tough-immigration-thousands-granted-daca-work-permits-2551284) Trump Talks Tough On Immigration But Thousands Granted DACA Work Permits
Malcolm Turnbull talks tough on jobs but he is actually making it easier for companies to bring in workers from overseas by signing away labour market testing in trade agreements.
Global Banking News-February 2, 2015--ECB talks tough to Greece
Declan also talks tough, but it seems he still has some doubts about Megan's guilt, and decides to get away from it all by whisking his wife off to a remote cottage with no mobile signal.
Gavin O'Connor's film talks tough and flexes its muscles impressively in the bruising fight sequences, but the script punches well below its class.
When it comes to the very wealthy, the PR man in Downing Street talks tough then acts soft.
That means no blinking on deficit reduction" Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg talks tough on the economy as he addresses the CBI
DAVID Cameron talks tough about intervention in Libya, but has nothing to back it up.
In the Line of Fire (a nod perhaps to the tide of a Clint Eastwood film of the same name), presents Musharraf as an Eastwoodesque character--someone who shoots from the hip, talks tough, and is willing to take a bullet for a friend.
Sturgeon said: "While the First Minster talks tough on knife crime, the stark fact is that the number of murders where knives were used has increased since Labour were elected.
That is why shares have been in a month-long tailspin as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke talks tough on inflation.
The Ministry of Defence talks tough, but appears powerless to clean up what is rapidly becoming a dire problem for the British Army.
Lib Dem work and pensions spokesman Steve Webb said: "This Government talks tough on fraud then fails to deliver.
FROM MEG RYAN'S turn as a brassy but, ridiculously, celibate sexpot to fight sequences that uniformly lack punch, ``Against the Ropes'' talks tough but never delivers the goods.
Global Banking News-June 7, 2012--RBI talks tough to banks about unclaimed deposits(C)2012 ENPublishing - http://www.