au·​to·​crat·​ic ˌȯ-tə-ˈkra-tik How to pronounce autocratic (audio)
variants or less commonly autocratical
: of, relating to, or being an autocracy : absolute
an autocratic government
: characteristic of or resembling an autocrat : despotic
an autocratic ruler
autocratically adverb

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 Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the resurgence of Trump, and the Israel-Hamas war, Biden had devoted his foreign policy to the idea that the challenge posed by Xi’s autocratic rule in China was a generational threat to the United States. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 17 Nov. 2023 In Doyle’s telling, the way to defend liberalism and democracy is not to directly confront autocratic regimes elsewhere in the world but rather to focus inward. Blaise Malley, The New Republic, 5 Oct. 2023 Now, the autocratic government in Baku may for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union be able to extend full control over the majority-Armenian enclave. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 26 Sep. 2023 The initials stand for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of the autocratic North Korean state. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2023 China developed economic long COVID thanks to Xi’s shift to a more autocratic approach to managing the economy. Zongyuan Zoe Liu, Foreign Affairs, 3 Oct. 2023 Now even Fink is embracing the oil-producing, autocratic regime of Saudi Arabia, naming the CEO of Saudi Aramco to BlackRock’s board. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 2 Oct. 2023 For years, autocratic regimes have been in a race to heighten those walls, as their citizens develop taller and taller ladders. WIRED, 25 Sep. 2023 Recommended Justice Israel’s moral challenge in Gaza – to fight humanely 9 How To Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair Acclaimed poet Safiya Sinclair’s searing and lyrical memoir describes her upbringing in Jamaica in a strict Rastafarian household ruled by her autocratic father. Monitor Contributors, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'autocratic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


autocrat + -ic entry 1, in part after French autocratique

First Known Use

1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of autocratic was in 1769

Dictionary Entries Near autocratic

Cite this Entry

“Autocratic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


au·​to·​crat·​ic ˌȯt-ə-ˈkrat-ik How to pronounce autocratic (audio)
: of, relating to, or resembling autocracy or an autocrat
autocratically adverb

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