plural caudillos
: a Spanish or Latin American military dictator

Examples of caudillo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some point to Latin America’s long tradition of strong, personalistic leaders, caudillos such as Simón Bolívar and Juan Manuel de Rosas who presided after the region’s wars for independence in the nineteenth century. Brian Winter, Foreign Affairs, 21 June 2022 The three great caudillos of the Mexican Revolution were Villa, Zapata, and Obregón. Christian Schneider, National Review, 11 May 2023 Trump, it’s claimed, cannot present affinities with fascism because there is no such thing as fascism in America; this is why Trumpism belongs to a special historical pathway that separates the American caudillo from other global histories, especially the history of fascism and postfascism. Federico Finchelstein, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2020 Others were more sanguine, confident that after more than two decades of reforms designed to modernize the country, Mexican institutions were strong enough to contain the ambitions of the 65-year-old caudillo. Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ, 20 Nov. 2022 Russian caudillo Vladimir Putin plans to use Ukraine as the stage for an opera in three acts: Blitzkrieg, Anschluss, Kolonisation. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 25 Feb. 2022 Putin is a ridiculous caudillo running a third-rate gangster state with a GDP per capita that is half of Lithuania’s and barely ahead of Kazakhstan’s. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 20 Jan. 2022 The caudillo depends on our exaggeration of his power. Michael Greenberg, The New York Review of Books, 5 Nov. 2020 Latin America is inured to strongmen and demagogues, but Bukele appears to be something new, a caudillo for the digital age intent on spreading his brand of populist politics across the region. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2021 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Spanish, "leader, chief" (medieval Spanish cabdiello), going back to Vulgar Latin *capitellus "leader" — more at cadet

First Known Use

1852, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of caudillo was in 1852

Dictionary Entries Near caudillo

Cite this Entry

“Caudillo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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