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

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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 The difference in how democracy and good governance are understood helps explain why many outsiders see the CCP as repressive and authoritarian, while most Chinese have come to see it as relatively responsive and capable. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, 15 June 2021 The Biden administration has also taken a hard approach to Beijing, which has grown more authoritarian at home and more assertive abroad in recent years. Washington Post, 11 June 2021 The excerpt from the memo sounds a little cold and authoritarian. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 10 June 2021 Many politicians in Latin America likely benefited from the global nature of the pandemic, says Amy Erica Smith, an associate professor at Iowa State University who studies how citizens engage with authoritarian and democratic governments. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 June 2021 In the political sphere, the centralization of power inherent in the nation-state, whether democratic or authoritarian, disempowers many peoples. Ashish Kothari, Scientific American, 20 May 2021 With a few exceptions, the stories present ultra-Orthodox Jews as a patriarchal community that is authoritarian and resistant to public health measures, even during a global pandemic. Michal Raucher, The Conversation, 17 May 2021 The teachers were often authoritarian and unpleasant., 14 May 2021 The United States officially categorizes Belarus, an ally of Russia, as an authoritarian country. Tyler Olson, Fox News, 22 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for authoritarian

Time Traveler

The first known use of authoritarian was in 1861

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Statistics for authoritarian

Last Updated

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Authoritarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for authoritarian



English Language Learners Definition of authoritarian

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


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