Monday, July 21, 2014

bully pulpit: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Monday, July 21, 2014

bully pulpit 
We occasionally still use the old positive meaning of the word “bully” when congratulating somebody (sincerely or sarcastically) by saying “Bully for you!” A century ago “bully” meant “good,” “great.”

That’s why Theodore Roosevelt called the American presidency a “bully pulpit,” meaning that it provided him an outstanding platform from which to preach his ideas. The expression is often misused by writers who mistakenly think it has something to do with preaching at people in a bullying way.

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