au·​to·​crat·​ic | \ ˌȯ-tə-ˈkra-tik How to pronounce autocratic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly autocratical \ -​ti-​kəl How to pronounce autocratical (audio) \

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 How to pronounce autocratically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for autocratic


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



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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

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, of Egypt, a former field marshal who has orchestrated two military coups since 2011 and now ranks as the most autocratic leader in his country’s modern history. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "The Unbelievable Hypocrisy of Trump’s New “Unalienable Rights” Panel," 9 July 2019 Even in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, insiders from the country’s autocratic past have regained political sway. Adam Taylor And, Washington Post, "Sudan may follow a perilous Arab Spring playbook: The strongman falls, his allies remain," 6 July 2019 Not least, Iraq diverted resources — including the most precious resource of a senior leader: focus — from the Bush administration’s effort to hedge against the rise of an assertive, autocratic China. Hal Brands, National Review, "Lessons from the Iraq War," 20 June 2019 Lopez remained under arrest, blocking him from participating in any elections, which drew criticism from the international community and undermined support for Maduro’s increasingly autocratic administration. Peter Millard,, "A Timeline of Venezuela’s Economic Rise and Fall," 16 Feb. 2019 Sudan has been without the Internet for three weeks and activists say the blackout has given the ruling military council cover to violently roll-back meager gains by protesters who helped oust the country’s longtime autocratic leader. Claire Parker, Washington Post, "Sudan’s military has shut down the Internet to crush a popular revolt. Here’s how it could backfire.," 21 June 2019 They can be imposed through colonial conquest and forceful occupation, or through autocratic leadership. Moses Khisa, Quartz Africa, "President Museveni has twisted Uganda’s constitution to cling to power," 21 June 2019 His victory was an earthquake in the Arab World, where the Brotherhood had been an underground movement for decades - both feared and repressed by autocratic leaders. Tim Lister, CNN, "Mohamed Morsy: A polarizing legacy," 17 June 2019 Now in his fourth term as president, Vladimir Putin has imposed an autocratic, nationalist rule. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "75 years after D-Day, these countries are facing a nationalist resurgence," 6 June 2019

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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Statistics for autocratic

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for autocratic

The first known use of autocratic was in 1769

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