au·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ ȯ-ˈtä-krə-sē How to pronounce autocracy (audio) \
plural autocracies

Definition of autocracy

1 : the authority or rule of an autocrat
2 : government in which one person possesses unlimited power
3 : a community or state governed by autocracy

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Examples of autocracy in a Sentence

the Magna Carta is historically important because it signified the British rejection of autocracy and constituted the first formal restraining of the power of the monarch
Recent Examples on the Web Russia, meanwhile, replaced Soviet rule with a revanchist autocracy. The Economist, "Our books of the year," 7 Dec. 2019 How all three autocracies dealt with the coronavirus is censored. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Pandemic Is but One of America’s Security Concerns," 23 Apr. 2020 The economic toll of a pandemic will strain the patronage networks that underpin many autocracies. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Autocrats’ Quandary: You Can’t Arrest a Virus," 6 Apr. 2020 Yet for the first time since 2001, autocracies rule a majority of the world – 54% of the global population – according to a report V-Dem released March 20. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Democracy around the world is down but not out. Test case: Brazil.," 9 Apr. 2020 Their public show trial forced a reckoning in Russia, an era-defining clash between Putin and a new generation of his subjects, who were rising up against his version of autocracy and demanding democratic change. Time, "100 Women of the Year," 5 Mar. 2020 An equal-opportunity epidemic, the virus is afflicting open and closed societies, autocracies and democracies, developed countries and war zones alike. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Spreading Across Continents, a Lethal Virus Tests a Fraying Global Order," 24 Feb. 2020 The delight of online life gave way to its moil, and the pleasure of online services has been eroded by their many downsides, from compulsion to autocracy. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "It Doesn’t Matter If Anyone Exists or Not," 24 Feb. 2020 Like all democracies – and some autocracies – the U.S. will always have parties. Alexander Cohen, The Conversation, "The two-party system is here to stay," 2 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autocracy.' 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 autocracy

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for autocracy

see autocrat

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Time Traveler for autocracy

Time Traveler

The first known use of autocracy was in 1659

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Statistics for autocracy

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Autocracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for autocracy


How to pronounce autocracy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of autocracy

: a form of government in which a country is ruled by a person or group with total power
: a country that is ruled by a person or group with total power

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