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See also: strong man



strong +‎ -man


strongman (plural strongmen)

  1. Someone who performs feats of strength, sometimes in competitions or in a circus.
    • 1920, Harry Houdini, chapter 11, in Miracle Mongers and Their Methods[1]:
      Giovanni Battista Belzoni, the famous Egyptian archeologist, who was a man of gigantic stature, began his public career as a strongman at the Bartholomew Fair, under the management of Gyngell, the conjuror, who dubbed him The Young Hercules.
  2. A forceful or brutal person, usually a ruler or tyrant.
    • 2022 January 7, Max Fisher, “Behind Kazakhstan Unrest, the ‘Strongman’s Dilemma’”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      Since the Cold War’s end, a staggering 70 percent of governments headed by strongmen collapsed after the ruler departed, according to one data set.

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