noun \dik-ˈtā-tər-ˌship, ˈdik-ˌ\

: rule by a dictator : rule, control, or leadership by one person with total power

: a government or country in which total power is held by a dictator or a small group

Full Definition of DICTATORSHIP

:  the office of dictator
:  autocratic rule, control, or leadership
a :  a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique
b :  a government organization or group in which absolute power is so concentrated
c :  a despotic state


  1. The country suffered for many years under his dictatorship.
  2. His enemies accused him of establishing a dictatorship.

First Known Use of DICTATORSHIP


Other Government and Politics Terms

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


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Form of government in which one person or an oligarchy possesses absolute power without effective constitutional checks. With constitutional democracy, it is one of the two chief forms of government in use today. Modern dictators usually use force or fraud to gain power and then keep it through intimidation, terror, suppression of civil liberties, and control of the mass media. In 20th-century Latin America, nationalist leaders often achieved power through the military and attempted either to maintain the privileged elite or to institute far-reaching social reform, depending on their class sympathies. In Europe's communist and fascist dictatorships, a charismatic leader of a mass party used an official ideology to maintain his regime, and terror and propaganda to suppress opposition. In postcolonial Africa and Asia, dictators have often retained power by establishing one-party rule after a military takeover.


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