au·​to·​crat | \ˈȯ-tə-ˌkrat \

Definition of autocrat 

1 : a person (such as a monarch) ruling with unlimited authority

2 : one who has undisputed influence or power He was the autocrat of his household.

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Synonyms for autocrat


monarch, potentate, ruler, sovereign (also sovran)

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Examples of autocrat in a Sentence

European autocrats once commonly believed that they had received the right to rule directly from God.

Recent Examples on the Web

As Trump prepares to meet with Kim on Tuesday, there’s uncertainty about how the two headstrong leaders will get along and whether the former real estate mogul can extract nuclear concessions from the young North Korean autocrat. Matthew Pennington, The Seattle Times, "Tough talk: US envoys on how to negotiate with North Korea," 9 June 2018 Known as the father of Malaysia’s modernization, as well as an autocrat who kept a tight hold over power, the 92-year-old previously governed the country from 1981-2003, overseeing a period of rapid industrialization and infrastructure building. Time, "Malaysia’s Longest-Serving Prime Minister Returns to Power Promising a Tide of Change," 11 May 2018 Small-d democratic leaders have recoiled from the Trump administration, while autocrats have embraced him. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Corruption, Not Russia, Is Trump’s Greatest Political Liability," 1 Apr. 2018 Collor also tried to implement an economic stabilization program without establishing the necessary support in Congress, and Fujimori was an autocrat. Javier Corrales, Washington Post, "The threat of impeachment can push presidents out the door. But there’s a catch.," 11 Apr. 2018 At a time when traditional media is under fire from autocrats around the globe, the intensifying effort against El Nacional illustrates how some governments are going to new lengths to silence dissent. Washington Post,, "As it slides toward authoritarianism, Venezuela targets one of its last independent newspapers," 6 July 2018 Kim will join a stable of autocrats, including Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping, who have earned Trump's gushing praise -- to the consternation of some of America's oldest friends. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump flips US foreign policy upside down," 7 June 2018 At present, Donald Trump is an autocrat without an autocracy.... Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump’s Amazon Trap," 4 Apr. 2018 Read more: Egypt’s Revolution Comes Full Circle From Arab Spring: QuickTake El-Sisi’s landslide was reminiscent of the margins Arab autocrats claimed before the 2011 Arab Spring., "Still Mr. 97 Percent, Egypt's El-Sisi Defeats Token Opponent," 2 Apr. 2018

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

1762, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for autocrat

French autocrate, from Greek autokratēs ruling by oneself, absolute, from aut- + -kratēs ruling — more at -crat

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Statistics for autocrat

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for autocrat

The first known use of autocrat was in 1762

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English Language Learners Definition of autocrat

: a person who rules with total power

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Comments on autocrat

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a private place of worship

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