despot

noun
des·​pot | \ ˈde-spət How to pronounce despot (audio) , -ˌspät \

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 On October 14, an American U-2 spy plane discovered medium-range Soviet missiles in Cuba, where three years earlier a band of rebels toppled a U.S.-friendly despot. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "The Book That Stopped an Outbreak of Nuclear War," 16 Apr. 2021 More temperate voices have assailed Lincoln as a statist despot who shredded the Constitution. Sean Wilentz, The New York Review of Books, "Lincoln’s Rowdy America," 13 Apr. 2021 Maryland votes to nix state song, a Confederate call to arms that refers to President Abraham Lincoln as a despot. NBC News, "Amazon workers struggle for union rights, Chauvin trial Day 2 and Covid's mysterious origins," 30 Mar. 2021 The leader of a band of desert mercenaries is hired to kill a ruthless despot and his clairvoyant sorceress. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘My Fair Lady’; ‘Marry Poppins’," 19 Mar. 2021 In 13th-century England, a skilled archer and his men confront a despot in a local village and set out to prevent their homeland from erupting in civil war. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘An American in Paris’; ‘Ben-Hur’," 26 Mar. 2021 In 13th-century England, a skilled archer and his men confront a despot in a local village and set out to prevent their homeland from erupting in civil war. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘The Searchers’; ‘Forrest Gump’," 12 Mar. 2021 Nor was the shah the one-dimensional despot depicted by Ghazvinian. Washington Post, "America and Iran, from fascination to antagonism," 26 Feb. 2021 Similar protests have shaken Iraq and Lebanon but, lacking a single despot on whom to focus their ire, failed to alter their complex, sectarian political systems. New York Times, "A Decade After the Arab Spring, Autocrats Still Rule the Mideast," 14 Feb. 2021

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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Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Despot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/despot. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for despot

despot

noun

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

despot

noun
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

Comments on despot

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