despotism

noun des·po·tism \ ˈdes-pə-ˌti-zəm \
Updated on: 5 Dec 2017

Definition of despotism

1 a : 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. Pettengill
b : oppressive or despotic exercise of power
  • educational despotism
2 a : a system of government in which the ruler has unlimited power : absolutism
b : 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

Recent Examples of despotism from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'despotism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of despotism

see despot


DESPOTISM Defined for English Language Learners

despotism

noun

Definition of despotism for English Language Learners

  • : rule by a despot



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