noun \ˈtī-rənt\

: a ruler who has complete power over a country and who is cruel and unfair

: someone who uses power in a cruel and unfair way

Full Definition of TYRANT

a :  an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution
b :  a usurper of sovereignty
a :  a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally
b :  one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power

Examples of TYRANT

  1. Our boss is a real tyrant.
  2. <the people universally feared the tyrant, who was notorious for his frequent use of torture>

Origin of TYRANT

Middle English tyraunt, from Anglo-French tyran, tyrant, from Latin tyrannus, from Greek tyrannos
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Government and Politics Terms

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

Rhymes with TYRANT


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In ancient Greece, a cruel and oppressive absolute ruler. The Greek tyrannos was a ruler who seized power unconstitutionally or inherited such power. Though tyrants often replaced aristocratic regimes that were themselves unpopular, the Greeks resented their illegal autocracy, and those who killed tyrants received high honours. Cypselus and Periander of Corinth and Dionysius I of Syracuse were among the most famous tyrants.


Next Word in the Dictionary: tyrant flycatcher
Previous Word in the Dictionary: tyranny
All Words Near: tyrant

Seen & Heard

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