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

For many Egyptians, Mr. Morsi’s election was their greatest hope for a definitive break with the country’s long history of autocracy after decades of harsh and corrupt rule under President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in the 2011 uprising. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s First Democratically Elected President, Dies," 17 June 2019 An impoverished Iran is bereft of allies and remains an international pariah, desperate to sell its embargoed oil to any rogue autocracy shameless enough to buy it. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Why the US can afford to stay calm with Iran," 27 June 2019 In their camp are a conspicuous crop of Arab autocracies — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The warlord wrecking Sudan’s revolution," 18 June 2019 But pushback against autocracy is also gaining strength and momentum. Christian Science Monitor, "World | Progress Watch," 7 June 2019 By recasting Ivan’s brutality as a prerequisite for progress, the tsar’s proponents have molded him into a prototype for contemporary Russian autocracy. Noah Sneider, Harper's magazine, "Slash Fictions," 10 May 2019 Contrast Malaysia's political renaissance with Cambodia's descent into autocracy under Hun Sen. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "Malaysia, Cambodia offer 2 Asian narratives of change at UN," 27 Sep. 2018 The puzzle is not solved by crafting pseudoscientific tests for autocracy that give equal weight to harsh words and malign acts. The Economist, "The deeper shifts affecting democracy in America," 25 Jan. 2018 However, history is filled with examples of countries that have gone in the direction of autocracy and dictatorship and regretted it. Fox News, "China allows Xi to remain president indefinitely, tightening his grip on power," 11 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for autocracy

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for autocracy

The first known use of autocracy was in 1659

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More Definitions for autocracy



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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