des·​pot | \ ˈde-spət How to pronounce despot (audio) , -ˌspät\

Definition of despot

1a : a ruler with absolute power and authority tyrannical despots
b : one exercising power tyrannically : a person exercising absolute power in a brutal or oppressive way regards the basketball coach as a despot
2a : a Byzantine emperor or prince
b Christianity : a bishop or patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church
c : an Italian hereditary prince or military leader during the Renaissance

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Examples of despot in a Sentence

He was a successful basketball coach, but many people regarded him as a petty despot. The company is run by a benevolent despot.

Recent Examples on the Web

In the strength column, the move puts new teeth behind the EU’s earlier measures to distance itself from the regime of despot Nicolás Maduro. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Europe’s ‘Foreign’ in Search of a ‘Policy’," 7 Feb. 2019 Since then power passed to the despot’s son and in 2011 to his grandson, Kim Jong Un, a young man in a hurry who has to date never met a foreign leader, even from China, the closest his all-but-friendless kingdom has to an ally. The Economist, "Face offDonald Trump may be bluffing over a pre-emptive strike on North Korea," 27 Jan. 2018 Kim, who is believed to be 72, may meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his U.S. visit in hopes of rescheduling the June 12 summit between the North Korean despot and Trump, Yonhap News Agency reported. Fox News, "North Korea sends infamous ex-spy chief to US in bid to revive peace summit," 29 May 2018 On the other stand secularists, liberals, and the Kurds of the south-east, who see him as a corrupt and repressive despot. The Economist, "Erdogan inaugurates a new political era in Turkey," 28 June 2018 With the talks he's been teasing incessantly now in doubt, the US President must be sweating his gamble on a budding relationship with a young despot. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "Trump is all in on a North Korea summit that might not happen," 16 May 2018 One part of the table will be occupied by Mr. Kim, a young despot atop an insular and impoverished country whose degree of political stability remains a mystery. New York Times, "An Unpredictable Trump and a Risk-Prone Kim Mean High Stakes and Mismatched Expectations," 23 Apr. 2018 This past April the King's Academy drama department responded to the Arab Spring by staging a version of Macbeth in which Shakespeare's murderous Scottish protagonists stood in for modern Arab despots. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "Desert Prep," 17 Dec. 2012 Together, the parts of Ms. Backström’s show serve as powerful analogues for our own era of refugees and migrants moving across a globe ravaged by despots, war and ecological disaster. Roberta Smith, Will Heinrich, Martha Schwendener And Jason Farago, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 29 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'despot.' 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 despot

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for despot

Middle French despote, from Greek despotēs master, lord, autocrat, from des- (akin to domos house) + -potēs (akin to posis husband); akin to Sanskrit dampati lord of the house — more at dome, potent

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22 May 2019

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The first known use of despot was in 1585

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English Language Learners Definition of despot

: a ruler who has total power and who often uses that power in cruel and unfair ways
formal : a person who has a lot of power over other people


des·​pot | \ ˈde-spət How to pronounce despot (audio) \

Kids Definition of despot

: a ruler having absolute power and authority and especially one who rules cruelly

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More from Merriam-Webster on despot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with despot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for despot

Spanish Central: Translation of despot

Nglish: Translation of despot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of despot for Arabic Speakers

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behavior toward others

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