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 Germany is struggling to pick sides in the escalating dispute between the U.S. and China over issues including trade and human rights, amid mounting American pressure and Beijing’s authoritarian drift. Tom Fairless, WSJ, "U.S.-China Tensions Leave Germany Squirming in the Middle," 24 June 2020 It is not merely being labeled as authoritarian personalities that prevents the demonizers of the Frankfurt School from seeing the light. Martin Jay, Harper's Magazine, "Melancholy Science," 23 June 2020 Of course, in a healthy political culture, Barr’s authoritarian mien and transparent bad faith would have led to his resignation or dismissal long ago. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Bill Barr Forgot How to Be an Attorney General," 23 June 2020 The council’s five permanent members (P5) are split between the Western three and Russia and China; some suspect the authoritarian duo of having a formal pact. The Economist, "Power plays Who runs the world?," 18 June 2020 The request for electoral assistance from Xi is one of many instances described by Bolton in which Trump seeks favors or approval from authoritarian leaders. Josh Dawsey,, "President Trump asked China’s Xi to help him win reelection, according to Bolton book," 17 June 2020 Beijing has touted its early containment of the virus, first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, as proof that its authoritarian style of government is superior to Western democracies like the United States. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "How Beijing’s second coronavirus wave triggered a salmon boycott," 15 June 2020 Occidental College rescinded his honorary doctorate in 2019, in light of his racist and authoritarian views. Paula Allen,, "Hunt is on for massive San Antonio pecan tree photographed in early 1900s by controversial eugenics promoter," 13 June 2020 On the spectrum of possible policy responses, most states have chosen one of the least authoritarian imaginable to try to contain the spread. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "Can Coronavirus Contact Tracing Survive Reopening?," 12 June 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

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Authoritarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 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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