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


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

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 The last country with an autocratic government to win the tournament was Argentina in 1978. The Economist, "For all its faults, the World Cup in Russia is worth celebrating," 9 June 2018 The legislation’s passage highlights the dilemmas for Western tech companies doing business under autocratic governments around the world. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Egyptian Bill on Ride-Hailing Data Prompts Privacy Concerns," 7 May 2018 Trump’s overtures to the kingdom mark a dramatic turn from the Obama administration, which was cool to Saudi Arabia’s autocratic rulers over its human rights record, often criticized by advocacy groups such as Amnesty International., "Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Trade Lavish Praise in U.S. Visit," 20 Mar. 2018 Reich conceded that the U.S. has a much more robust political and civic infrastructure but said that Germany and Italy also had strong foundations before their leaders turned autocratic and their societies collapsed. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "In socialist candidates' election success, some see ominous rejection of Democratic 'Old Guard'," 7 July 2018 In 3,000 total simulations, a socially intolerant person on our measure is more supportive of autocratic alternatives than a socially tolerant person 100 percent of the time. Nicholas T. Davis And Steven Miller, Vox, "Racism and authoritarianism go hand in hand," 2 July 2018 Erdogan, who served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014 before being elected president four years ago, has been praised for leading Turkey’s economic growth and development of infrastructure, but criticized for his near-autocratic rule. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Erdogan Wins Expansive Executive Powers in Turkish Presidential Election," 25 June 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

23 Oct 2018

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The first known use of autocratic was in 1769

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