noun \ˈdik-ˌtā-tər, dik-ˈ\

: a person who rules a country with total authority and often in a cruel or brutal way

Full Definition of DICTATOR

a :  a person granted absolute emergency power; especially :  one appointed by the senate of ancient Rome
b :  one holding complete autocratic control
c :  one ruling absolutely and often oppressively
:  one that dictates

Examples of DICTATOR

  1. The country was ruled by a military dictator.
  2. <the dictator had a fierce stranglehold on the country, keeping its people in poverty and ignorance>

Origin of DICTATOR

Latin, from dictare
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In the Roman republic, a temporary magistrate with extraordinary powers. Nominated in times of crisis by a consul, recommended by the Senate, and confirmed by the Comitia Curiata, the dictator's term was six months or the duration of the crisis, and he had authority over all other magistrates. By 300 BC his powers were limited; no dictators were chosen after 202. The dictatorships of Sulla and Julius Caesar were a new form with almost unlimited powers. Caesar became dictator for life just before his assassination; afterward the office was abolished.


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