au·​thor·​i·​tar·​i·​an | \ ȯ-ˌthȯr-ə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce authoritarian (audio) , ə-, -ˌthär- \

Definition of authoritarian

1 : of, relating to, or favoring blind submission to authority had authoritarian parents
2 : of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people an authoritarian regime

Other Words from authoritarian

authoritarian noun
authoritarianism \ ȯ-​ˌthȯr-​ə-​ˈter-​ē-​ə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce authoritarian (audio) , ə-​ , -​ˌthär-​ \ noun

Examples of authoritarian in a Sentence

grew up with an authoritarian older sister who thought she was queen of the world an authoritarian coach who runs football practice like it's boot camp
Recent Examples on the Web People in countries with authoritarian governments might be scared to give an honest response. Josh Fischman, Scientific American, 2 Aug. 2022 And authoritarian governments can be just as messy as any democracy. New York Times, 26 July 2022 Much like his past claim that DeSantis is authoritarian, Chait’s latest article was ridiculed by Twitter users. Fox News, 11 July 2022 The killing brought a country already experiencing violent gang violence and protests of authoritarian rule cascading further into chaos. Ahmad Hemingway, ABC News, 17 July 2022 As an opponent of the military’s authoritarian rule, Cardinal Hummes became associated with proponents of liberation theology, a social justice movement within the Catholic Church. New York Times, 13 July 2022 In 2019, millions of Hong Kongers demonstrated against growing Chinese authoritarian rule, which later prompted Beijing to impose a sweeping national security law outlawing acts such as subversion with possible life imprisonment. Reuters, NBC News, 30 June 2022 Critics say the successes of Kagame's authoritarian rule have come at the expense of human rights in the country. Nimi Princewill, CNN, 24 June 2022 If DeSantis were authoritarian Florida would still be closed due to COVID. Alexander Hall, Fox News, 7 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'authoritarian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of authoritarian

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for authoritarian

see authority

Learn More About authoritarian

Time Traveler for authoritarian

Time Traveler

The first known use of authoritarian was in 1861

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near authoritarian




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for authoritarian

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Authoritarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on authoritarian

Nglish: Translation of authoritarian for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of authoritarian for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!