carry a big stick

(redirected from wield a big stick)

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 ?
Then maybe this rotten policy we have of giving Israel $3 billion-plus a year to wield a big stick and make more settlements would stop.