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 And the use of these kinds of tactics, the engagement in these kinds of operations are one means for our authoritarian competitors and adversaries to undermine democratic systems. CBS News, "Election security 2020: How prepared is the U.S. to confront foreign threats?," 27 May 2020 Elsewhere, leaders with authoritarian streaks have felt unleashed; this group includes Rodrigo Duterte, of the Philippines; Alexander Lukashenko, of Belarus; and Viktor Orbán, of Hungary. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "The Coronavirus Hits Brazil Hard, but Jair Bolsonaro Is Unrepentant," 22 May 2020 Set in a mental hospital, the film focuses on the rebellious Randle McMurphy (Nicholson), and his clashes with authoritarian Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). oregonlive, "29 Oregon-filmed movies and TV shows to watch when you’re home because of coronavirus," 4 May 2020 Democracies die when those in power get it through the democratic process and then wield it in an authoritarian manner. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "Poland’s election is days away—and it’s already in complete disarray," 30 Apr. 2020 North Korea is one of the world's most secretive, repressive and authoritarian countries in the world, and the regime's propaganda machine controls the flow of information. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "'A near impossibility': Experts doubt North Korea's claim of zero coronavirus cases," 30 Apr. 2020 China is an authoritarian state that competes with the United States in military, trade and diplomatic spheres, and relations between the two countries have become particularly testy since Trump took office. Los Angeles Times, "Was the coronavirus made in a Wuhan lab? Here’s what the genetic evidence shows," 9 May 2020 This has been adapted from its quotidian authoritarian-state objectives to coronavirus tracking, with the state making sure the interactions of every person newly confirmed as infected are quickly and definitively traced. oregonlive, "What will return and what won’t when Oregon and rest of U.S. reopen to a ‘new normal’?," 27 Apr. 2020 This is the time to build new institutions that reflect the realities of a 21st century that pits liberal democracies against an authoritarian surveillance state. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "America Can’t Face China Alone," 25 Apr. 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

2 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Authoritarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 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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