des·​pot·​ic de-ˈspä-tik How to pronounce despotic (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of a despot
a despotic government
despotically adverb

Example Sentences

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 Foote says that some Haitians are angrier than he’s ever seen before, so much so that any sort of foreign intervention will meet with a violent backlash, especially if the end result is Henry maintaining his hold on his despotic regime. James North, The New Republic, 12 Oct. 2022 Reinvigorated and clad in a saffron dhoti, Ram exacts revenge on the despotic British governor with the help of his burly friend Bheem, who bears a resemblance to the Hindu god Hanuman. Gerry Shih, Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2022 As if America and Pelosi are the problem, and not the despotic, expansionist, belligerent government in Beijing. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 30 July 2022 Jesse grew up in a town called Freemanville, a settlement of Black people that’s involuntarily twinned with the neighboring white outpost of Cutterstown, which is run by a despotic and sadistic sheriff named Bates (Richard Jordan). Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 18 Aug. 2022 And that’s without mentioning Soviet support during the Cold War for despotic regimes in African and Latin American nations such as Angola and Cuba. Casey Michel, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2022 Watching President Trump glad-hand Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman once inspired Washington Post opinion columnist Max Boot to excoriate the president for his coziness with despotic global leaders. Andy Meek, Forbes, 24 July 2022 Under his leadership, the sport expanded into new territories determined not by a desire to grow its fanbase, but by which despotic governments were willing to pay the biggest race fees. Wired, 15 July 2022 What’s the latest news from the wild intersection of international sports and despotic regimes? Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 10 June 2022 See More

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.

Word History


see despot

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of despotic was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near despotic

Cite this Entry

“Despotic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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