au·​thor·​i·​tar·​i·​an | \ ȯ-ˌthär-ə-ˈter-ē-ən, ə-, -ˌthȯr-\

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

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Other Words from authoritarian

authoritarian noun
authoritarianism \ -​ē-​ə-​ˌni-​zəm \ 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

Kara Swisher interviews Maria Ressa, co-founder of the news site Rappler in the Philippines, who is facing 10 years in prison for honestly reporting on its authoritarian leader. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The UK’s inquiry into fake news is focused on a long-dead bikini-finding app," 27 Nov. 2018 While international reporting in conflict zones or authoritarian countries has always been risky, journalist deaths in the United States have, until now, been uncommon. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette shooting highlights the dangers facing today's journalists," 3 July 2018 There are other ways of getting hurt, but dying in a mass shooting was not in the cards — even in an authoritarian country. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "Foreign correspondents often face danger — but few ever worry about dying in a mass shooting," 29 June 2018 In authoritarian countries, robotaxis could restrict people’s movements. The Economist, "Self-driving cars offer huge benefits—but have a dark side," 1 Mar. 2018 Radical identification To spot the radicals, all participants were given a set of questions about their beliefs on a variety of topics, designed to get at things like their dogmatism, intolerance, and authoritarian tendencies. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Political radicals don’t evaluate their own errors—about anything," 21 Dec. 2018 The term was developed by psychologist Diana Baumrind, who studied preschoolers and found their parents mostly fit into three parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Permissive Parenting? Experts Say This Parenting Style Fails Kids," 11 Dec. 2018 Most are not yet focused on it, but one of the front-runners in the opinion polls is Jair Bolsonaro, a crudely authoritarian, misogynistic and homophobic former army officer. The Economist, "The price of electing saviours in Latin America," 27 June 2018 His increasingly authoritarian, nationalist and anti-Western bent is alienating foreign investors, which is hurting the Turkish lira. New York Times,, "After winning new powers, Erdogan must now deliver," 25 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of authoritarian

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for authoritarian

see authority

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for authoritarian

The first known use of authoritarian was in 1861

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English Language Learners Definition of authoritarian

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

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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