Simple Definition of theocracy
: a form of government in which a country is ruled by religious leaders
: a country that is ruled by religious leaders
Full Definition of theocracyplural
1 : government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
2 : a state governed by a theocracy
Did You Know?
In the Middle Ages, the Muslim empires stretching around much of the Mediterranean were theocracies, and the pope ruled most of modern-day Italy. But theocracies are rare today. Modern Iran and Saudi Arabia (and perhaps half a dozen others) are usually regarded as theocratic governments, since, even though Iran's president is elected by popular vote and Saudi Arabia is ruled by a royal family, the countries' laws are religious laws. But when a government tries to follow all the teachings of a single religion, things usually don't work out terribly well, so U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights forbid using religion as the principal basis for democracy.
Origin and Etymology of theocracy
Greek theokratia, from the- + -kratia -cracy
First Known Use: 1622
Learn More about theocracy
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about theocracy
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up theocracy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).