despotism

play
noun des·po·tism \ˈdes-pə-ˌti-zəm\

Definition of despotism

  1. 1a :  oppressive absolute (see absolute 2) power and authority exerted by government :  rule by a despot an excess of law is despotism, from which free men revolt — S. B. Pettengillb :  oppressive or despotic exercise of power educational despotism

  2. 2a :  a system of government in which the ruler has unlimited power :  absolutismb :  a despotic state enduring the despotism of the czars

Examples of despotism in a sentence

  1. by the end of the 20th century many countries around the world had rejected despotism in favor of democracy

Origin and Etymology of despotism

see despot


First Known Use: circa 1727


DESPOTISM Defined for English Language Learners

despotism

play
noun des·po·tism \ˈdes-pə-ˌti-zəm\

Definition of despotism for English Language Learners

  • : rule by a despot



Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

feeling or affected by lethargy

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • ludwig-richter-spring-has-arrived
  • Which is a synonym of upbraid?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ