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.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for autocrat


monarch, potentate, ruler, sovereign (also sovran)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

There can be no epistemic authority, no one to trust, other than the autocrat and his mouthpieces. David Roberts, Vox, "The caravan “invasion” and America’s epistemic crisis," 2 Nov. 2018 President Nicolas Maduro granted the army the handsome prize, a move that helps ensure the unpopular autocrat’s power. Andrew Rosati,, "The Bloody Grab for Gold in Venezuela’s Most Dangerous Town," 9 Apr. 2018 The uprisings of the Arab Spring, epitomized by the 2011 Egyptian revolution, demanded political freedom in a region long dominated by autocrats. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Eight Years After Egypt’s Uprising, a New Autocrat Is Determined Not to Permit a Sequel," 25 Jan. 2019 The problem is that autocrats like Mr. Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan use the system to harass domestic political opponents across the world. The Editorial Page, WSJ, "Fixing Interpol’s Dictator Problem," 10 Feb. 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about autocrat

Statistics for autocrat

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for autocrat

The first known use of autocrat was in 1762

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for autocrat



English Language Learners Definition of autocrat

: a person who rules with total power

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a tendency to relapse

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!