autocratic

adjective
au·​to·​crat·​ic | \ˌȯ-tə-ˈkra-tik \
variants: or less commonly autocratical \-​ti-​kəl \

Definition of autocratic 

1 : of, relating to, or being an autocracy : absolute an autocratic government

2 : characteristic of or resembling an autocrat : despotic an autocratic ruler

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Other Words from autocratic

autocratically \-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for autocratic

Synonyms

absolute, arbitrary, czarist (also tsarist), despotic, dictatorial, monocratic, tyrannical (also tyrannic), tyrannous

Antonyms

limited

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Did You Know?

Autos in Greek means "same" or "self", so in an autocratic government all the power is held by the leader him- or herself. Autocratic governments are often called dictatorships, or sometimes autocracies. In everyday life, a teacher, a parent, or a football coach can all behave like autocrats as well.

Examples of autocratic in a Sentence

democracy is supposed to protect the people against the rise of autocratic rulers an autocratic Boy Scout leader who is under the delusion that he's still an army colonel

Recent Examples on the Web

Autocrats are often incompetent There are undoubtedly real examples of autocratic rulers who are also savvy, highly skilled technocrats who excel at devising and implementing public policy. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s incompetence and authoritarianism are both scary," 15 Nov. 2018 The budding democracy, also coping with extremist attacks, is having trouble overcoming political problems despite major strides since autocratic leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in 2011. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Seattle Times, "Tunisia PM faces confidence vote amid political tensions," 12 Nov. 2018 In some countries, that’s the problem, and in being able to protect yourself in countries that are autocratic. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Amazon’s HQ2 was a con, not a contest," 9 Nov. 2018 By contrast, China’s political system—a mongrel of autocratic capitalism and democratic socialism—is not compatible with progress and growth in the long run. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Big Brother Isn’t Watching You," 4 Nov. 2018 The president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, was a beloved, if autocratic, leader who had been in power since the country’s independence in 1960. Rawiya Kameir, Vogue, "Does Citizenship Shape Identity? A “Third-Culture” Writer Takes Stock," 19 Oct. 2018 Earlier this year, German think tank Bertelsmann Foundation released a report that said Bangladesh is now under an autocratic rule and no longer meets minimum standards of democracy. Jennifer Chowdhury, Teen Vogue, "Student Protests Over Road Safety in Bangladesh Turned Violent," 8 Aug. 2018 The autocratic Chinese government is also chary of any display of mass mobilization, even benign ones like Pride. Charlie Campbell / Shanghai, Time, "'We’ll Just Keep on Marching.' Tenth Shanghai Pride Spotlights China's Changing Attitudes Toward Gay Lifestyles," 15 June 2018 Mexicans stand ready to clobber the three parties of the political right, center and left that have governed through the country’s three-decade transition from autocratic rule to fitful democracy. Dudley Althaus, Washington Post, "Here’s what you need to know about Mexico’s presidential election," 1 July 2018

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

1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for autocratic

see autocrat

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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The first known use of autocratic was in 1769

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