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 China's rapidly accelerating vaccine campaign underscores the advantage of Beijing's authoritarian regime and its disregard for the belief systems—personal liberty, religious freedom—that are stoking vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 27 May 2021 American officials have mostly ignored complaints that Mr. Déby has overseen an authoritarian regime, Africa experts said, in large part because of his staunch support for counterterrorism operations. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2021 But the episode has only called attention to the party’s devotion to Mr. Trump, its tolerance for authoritarian tendencies, and internal divisions between Trump acolytes and more traditional Republicans about how to win back the House in 2022. New York Times, 12 May 2021 Parish Flannery: Some political analysts have raised concerns about López Obrador's authoritarian tendencies. Nathaniel Parish Flannery, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 Molinaro's dad, a story subject that frequently comes up in her videos, grew up in South Korea under the authoritarian regime of Syngman Rhee and idealized the U.S. as the land of dreams and democracy. Daphne K. Lee, CBS News, 12 Apr. 2021 John Magufuli, whose death was announced on March 17th, was a covid-denying populist who ran a ruthless authoritarian regime. The Economist, 31 Mar. 2021 Authoritarianism and authoritarian tendencies take so many different forms. Han Zhang, The New Yorker, 8 Mar. 2021 The victory was so complete that many critics at home and abroad worried of an accelerated drift toward one-man rule by a president who has been accused of authoritarian tendencies. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 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

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Authoritarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 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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