au·​to·​crat | \ ˈȯ-tə-ˌkrat How to pronounce autocrat (audio) \

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

Nigeria’s first peaceful transition from one democratically elected government to another, in 2015, was seen as a milestone that strengthened pro-democracy forces across a continent studded with entrenched autocrats. Joe Parkinson, WSJ, "Nigeria Braces for Climax of Rancorous Presidential Showdown," 15 Feb. 2019 Instability is dangerous for autocrats, especially in a country without a sturdy social safety net. Jesse M. Fried And Matthew Schoenfeld, WSJ, "Will China Cheat American Investors?," 13 Dec. 2018 Yet a number of global autocrats, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have backed Maduro. Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, "Crisis-weary Venezuelans are voting in election decried as a Maduro power grab," 20 May 2018 There are a lot of autocrats in the world who may or may not control natural resources and who have to be dealt with as a reality of the global system, and that’s fine. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Reconsidering the US-Saudi relationship," 19 Oct. 2018 American human-rights sanctions mean less when Russia and China stand ready to lend autocrats a hand. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "The Twilight of Human-Rights Diplomacy," 17 Dec. 2018 The Indian Ocean archipelago nation had its first multiparty election in 2008, with Nasheed defeating 30-year autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Seattle Times, "Maldives opposition leader: Gov’t may rig next month’s poll," 27 Aug. 2018 The country has been polarized since a popular uprising in 2011 toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, ushering in a period of political domination by the Muslim Brotherhood, which won a series of elections — including the presidency. Menna Zaki, Fox News, "Movie star's lifestyle reversal sparks a debate in Egypt," 21 Aug. 2018 Close to half of the electorate views Mr Erdogan as an increasingly unscrupulous autocrat. The Economist, "Turkey’s President Erdogan may yet be defeated," 21 June 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

12 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for autocrat

The first known use of autocrat was in 1762

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More Definitions for autocrat



English Language Learners Definition of autocrat

: a person who rules with total power

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More from Merriam-Webster on autocrat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with autocrat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for autocrat

Spanish Central: Translation of autocrat

Nglish: Translation of autocrat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of autocrat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on autocrat

What made you want to look up autocrat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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