des·​pot | \ ˈdes-pət How to pronounce despot (audio) , -ˌpät\

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

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 America has been the world’s policeman, the guarantor of a modicum of restraint from the world’s despots and fanatics. Tony Abbott, WSJ, "An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump," 13 July 2018 The two sides have been negotiating over the North’s nuclear-weapons programme since 1992, when Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of the current despot, Kim Jong Un, was in power (see timeline). The Economist, "Talks between America and North Korea might succeed—at a terrible price," 7 June 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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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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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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