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 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 Then give them the protection of a secretive and authoritarian government that will stop at nothing to achieve world domination. oregonlive, "Misinformation about the coronavirus abounds, but correcting it can backfire," 8 Feb. 2020 In short, the United States has a galloping case of authoritarian rot, in large part because the fundamental ideas motivating the Constitution are poles apart from how people actually behave. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "American democracy is dying," 7 Feb. 2020 As Beijing’s authoritarian leadership faces questions over having kept its citizens in the dark for weeks before infections started to explode, other countries are trying to set up effective quarantines to stop a possible pandemic. Washington Post, "Unknowns of the new virus make global quarantines a struggle," 5 Feb. 2020 Expansion in authoritarian countries or conflict areas and even assaults on our environment could be reliably defended, typically on the basis that market growth has a fundamentally positive impact. Alison Taylor, Quartz at Work, "2020 will be the year when corporate activism and global political risk converge," 5 Feb. 2020 Whoever wins the primaries will try to run in the general election as a defender of popular democracy against Trump’s authoritarian instincts. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "The Unreality of the Iowa Caucus," 4 Feb. 2020 But obfuscation from public health officials and other government missteps showed a system that is more rigid and authoritarian than in 2002. Anchorage Daily News, "Early missteps, state secrecy in China likely allowed coronavirus to spread farther and faster," 2 Feb. 2020 But history suggests that absent authoritarian methods, suppressing ideas empowers them, while giving all human thought an airing is the best way to advance societies committed to freedom, democracy and tolerance. The Economist, "Even noxious ideas need airing—censorship only makes them stronger," 31 Jan. 2020 Critics also fear a new owner could change policies and reduce protections for domain name owners, including non-government organizations that operate in authoritarian countries. CBS News, "Nonprofits worry sale of dot-org universe will hike costs," 24 Jan. 2020

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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Authoritarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for authoritarian


How to pronounce authoritarian (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of authoritarian

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

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