authoritarian

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from authoritarian

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

In the face of authoritarian rule and disasters like drought, the population suffered mightily. Lily Rothman, Time, "Robert Mugabe Ruled Zimbabwe for Decades. Here's How He First Came to Power," 6 Sep. 2019 The military overthrew al-Bashir following months of protests against his three-decade-long authoritarian rule. Samy Magdy, BostonGlobe.com, "Sudanese protesters sign final power-sharing deal with army," 17 Aug. 2019 In China, a rebellion would probably replace one form of authoritarian rule for another. Joel Kotkin, National Review, "The Return to Serfdom," 25 July 2019 After al-Bashir was ousted in April, the Transitional Military Council took over — an unpopular decision among civilians concerned about further authoritarian rule. Catherine Kim, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Turning off the red lights," 6 July 2019 But first, two parallel and courageous challenges to authoritarian rule are playing out in the streets. The Christian Science Monitor, "Democracies try to boost public service," 1 July 2019 Protesters have mainly focused their anger on Lam, who had little choice but to carry through dictates issued by Beijing, where President Xi Jinping has enforced increasingly authoritarian rule. Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, "Hong Kong police clear streets as protesters move to park," 17 June 2019 Protesters have mainly focused their anger on Lam, who had little choice but to carry through dictates issued by Beijing, where President Xi Jinping has enforced increasingly authoritarian rule. Christopher Bodeen And Elaine Kurtenbach, SFChronicle.com, "Huge Hong Kong protest tests strength of leader’s control," 16 June 2019 For decades, many Americans defined it in terms of the Cold War, equating the term with state control of the economy and, more often than not, authoritarian rule. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "The Many, Tangled American Definitions of Socialism," 14 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of authoritarian

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for authoritarian

see authority

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about authoritarian

Statistics for authoritarian

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for authoritarian

The first known use of authoritarian was in 1861

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for authoritarian

authoritarian

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of authoritarian

: expecting or requiring people to obey rules or laws : not allowing personal freedom

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on authoritarian

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

WORD OF THE DAY

concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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