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

On the other hand, that traditional, patriarchal demand unmasked the greatest hypocrisy in the world of Gilead, the authoritarian government of Handmaid’s Tale., "What The Handmaid's Tale Could Learn From Meghan Markle's Wedding Vows," 6 June 2018 Chaebol are authoritarian militaristic groups often led by criminals who mistreat their employees—corporate North Koreas with a thin veneer of respectability. David Volodzko, The New Republic, "The Corporate Gangs Who Could Profit From Trade With North Korea," 26 June 2018 Bolton dismissed a question about whether Trump has been more willing to criticize U.S. allies than authoritarian leaders of rival nations, including Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un. David Nakamura, Washington Post, "John Bolton: No one should have ‘a case of the vapors’ over Trump’s summit with Putin," 1 July 2018 Nothing better illustrates Trump’s attitude toward the non-syncophantic press than his embrace of authoritarian leaders who repress their own media – from Vladimir Putin to Filipino leader Rodrigo Duterte to Polish President Andrzej Duda. Trudy Rubin,, "After Maryland shooting, Trump must quit embracing autocrats who squash the press | Trudy Rubin," 29 June 2018 Critics call it a smokescreen to reduce the judiciary’s independence to ensure the increasingly authoritarian party’s grip on power. Kristen Chick, The Christian Science Monitor, "By staying on the job, Poland's top judge fights the right-wing government," 13 July 2018 Hasina has been in office since 2009, and critics say her government is increasingly authoritarian. Vidhi Doshi, Washington Post, "138 people killed in 2 months in Bangladesh police crackdown on drug dealers," 12 July 2018 The Republican coalition has grown increasingly authoritarian in its personality outlook. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "The GOP Is Trump’s Personality Cult. Could Democrats Do the Same?," 27 June 2018 His dad was a big man physically, belonged to a motorcycle club, and was authoritarian. Neil Senturia,, "Powerful stories from inmates at TEDx event," 1 Apr. 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

4 Nov 2018

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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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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).


to express warning or disapproval

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