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adjective dom·i·neer·ing \-ˈnir-iŋ\

Simple Definition of domineering

  • : tending too often to tell people what to do : often trying to control the behavior of others

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of domineering

  1. :  inclined to exercise arbitrary and overbearing control over others





Examples of domineering in a sentence

  1. <the younger children in the family were controlled by a domineering older sister>

Did You Know?

To be domineering is to behave like a lord. (The word lordly doesn't express quite the same thing.) Someone who tells you what you can wear or what friends you can spend time with could be called domineering; so could someone who always decides what you're going to do with your free time. Those of us who grow up with a domineering parent usually flee as soon as we're old enough.


First Known Use of domineering


Synonym Discussion of domineering

masterful, domineering, imperious, peremptory, imperative mean tending to impose one's will on others. masterful implies a strong personality and ability to act authoritatively <her masterful personality soon dominated the movement>. domineering suggests an overbearing or arbitrary manner and an obstinate determination to enforce one's will <children controlled by domineering parents>. imperious implies a commanding nature or manner and often suggests arrogant assurance <an imperious executive used to getting his own way>. peremptory implies an abrupt dictatorial manner coupled with an unwillingness to brook disobedience or dissent <given a peremptory dismissal>. imperative implies peremptoriness arising more from the urgency of the situation than from an inherent will to dominate <an imperative appeal for assistance>.

Some commentators insist that use of masterful should be limited to sense 1 in order to preserve a distinction between it and masterly. The distinction is a modern one, excogitated by a 20th century pundit in disregard of the history of the word. Both words developed in a parallel manner but the earlier sense of masterly, equivalent to masterful 1, dropped out of use. Since masterly had but one sense, the pundit opined that it would be tidy if masterful were likewise limited to one sense and he forthwith condemned use of masterful 2 as an error. Sense 2 of masterful, which is slightly older than the sense of masterly intended to replace it, has continued in reputable use all along; it cannot rationally be called an error.

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