carry a big stick

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carry a big stick

To be very powerful or commanding. The phrase is a shortened version of "speak softly and carry a big stick," which was popularized by Theodore Roosevelt in a 1903 speech. She carries a big stick these days, now that she's in charge of the whole department.
See also: big, carry, stick

carry a big stick

or

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."'
See also: big, carry, stick
References in periodicals archive ?
Last year, biotech firms received pounds 32b of funding, but Prof Wield said such a figure will not be achieved in 2008.
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God is your enemy," reads one of the plackards they wield at a funeral.
But the disease had centuries of destruction yet to wield.
ANN EVANS visits the historic home of Adrian and Benedicte Wield and wanders around its large and beautiful gardens.
Some wield true policy-making muscle on Capitol Hill.
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Kids wield innate knowledge about rules for constructing sentences in any language, Chomsky argued.
Chairmen wield considerable clout in Congress, including the power to decide which bills will receive a hearing - the necessary first step toward passage.
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They say "He who wields the knife never lifts the crown".