des·​pot·​ic | \ de-ˈspä-tik How to pronounce despotic (audio) , di-\

Definition of despotic

: of, relating to, or characteristic of a despot a despotic government

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Other Words from despotic

despotically \ de-​ˈspä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce despotically (audio) , di-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for despotic


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



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Examples of despotic in a Sentence

a nation ruled by a series of despotic rulers, each seemingly worse than the last the despotic coach demands that his players obey him without question

Recent Examples on the Web

Adding to the economic woes, the country's despotic leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has been conspicuously absent since mid-July, appearing just three times on state media, which once reported almost daily on the president's activities. CNN, "A hermit nation ruled by an egomaniac: Is Turkmenistan on the brink of collapse?," 10 Aug. 2019 Beginning with the Iran’s war with Iraq in the 1980s, Tehran hosted and supported a number of powerful Shiite militias that were opposed to Saddam Hussein’s despotic rule. Washington Post, "Iran has invested in allies and proxies across the Middle East. Here’s why they matter now.," 19 June 2019 The unrealized nations among them, such as the Kurds and the Uighurs, are prey to despotic states like Iran, Turkey and China. Martin Peretz, WSJ, "‘The Empire and the Five Kings’ Review: The Desert Grows," 12 Feb. 2019 Major League Baseball likens the deal to its practice of dipping into Japanese players’ pay to compensate their league back home—rather different from teaming up with one of the world’s most despotic regimes. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Baseball Teams Up With Castro," 30 Dec. 2018 Perovskaya clashed with her despotic father early on. Eva Sohlman, New York Times, "Overlooked No More: The Russian Icon Who Was Hanged for Killing a Czar," 30 May 2018 Tracking the movements of every person at all times in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries would have required feats of manpower and bureaucracy beyond all but the most despotic regimes’ dreams. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Cares About Your Digital Privacy," 22 June 2018 This dark and seemingly despotic world of election management, influence peddling, and voter data analytics is raising fundamental questions about how democratic institutions can survive these new digital threats. David Carroll, WIRED, "The US Should Pay Attention to Foreign Cambridge Analytica Probes," 15 June 2018 The real threat to Palestinians’ human rights comes not from Israel but from their own self-appointed, corrupt, despotic leaders. WSJ, "Younger Evangelicals on Israel and Palestine," 11 June 2018

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

1604, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for despotic

see despot

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Statistics for despotic

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for despotic

The first known use of despotic was in 1604

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More from Merriam-Webster on despotic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with despotic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for despotic

Spanish Central: Translation of despotic

Nglish: Translation of despotic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of despotic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on despotic

What made you want to look up despotic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not constant or steady

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