Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

despot

play
noun des·pot \ˈdes-pət, -ˌpät\

Simple Definition of despot

  • : a ruler who has total power and who often uses that power in cruel and unfair ways

  • : a person who has a lot of power over other people

Full Definition of despot

  1. 1 a :  a Byzantine emperor or prince b :  a bishop or patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church c :  an Italian hereditary prince or military leader during the Renaissance

  2. 2 a :  a ruler with absolute power and authority b :  a person exercising power tyrannically

Examples of despot

  1. He was a successful basketball coach, but many people regarded him as a petty despot.

  2. The company is run by a benevolent despot.



Origin of despot

Middle French despote, from Greek despotēs master, lord, autocrat, from des- (akin to domos house) + -potēs (akin to posis husband); akin to Sanskrit dampati lord of the house — more at dome, potent


First Known Use: 1585

Other Foreign Functionary Terms

Rhymes with despot


DESPOT Defined for Kids

despot

play
noun des·pot \ˈde-spət\

Definition of despot

  1. :  a ruler having absolute power and authority and especially one who rules cruelly





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up despot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders spindrift pince-nez duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ