dictator

noun dic·ta·tor \ ˈdik-ˌtā-tər , dik-ˈ \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of dictator

1 a : a person granted absolute emergency power; especially, history : one appointed by the senate (see senate 1a) of ancient Rome
b : one holding complete autocratic control : a person with unlimited governmental power
c : one ruling in an absolute (see absolute 2) and often oppressive way
  • fascist dictators
2 : one who says or reads something for a person to transcribe or for a machine to record : one that dictates (see 1dictate 1)

Examples of dictator in a Sentence

  1. The country was ruled by a military dictator.

  2. the dictator had a fierce stranglehold on the country, keeping its people in poverty and ignorance

Recent Examples of dictator from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of dictator

Middle English dictatour, borrowed from Latin dictātor, from dictāre "to say repeatedly, speak aloud words to be transcribed by another, issue as an order" + -tor, agent suffix — more at 1dictate
Note: Though formally a derivative of dictāre, the noun dictātor is attested perhaps two centuries earlier in Latin and may be an independent formation, though the model for it is not clear; the sense "issue as an order" of dictāre may reflect influence of dictātor. The form tictator used in the Old English translation of Orosius's Historiae Adversum Paganos had no subsequent use.


DICTATOR Defined for English Language Learners

dictator

Definition of dictator for English Language Learners

  • : a person who rules a country with total authority and often in a cruel or brutal way


DICTATOR Defined for Kids

dictator

noun dic·ta·tor \ ˈdik-ˌtā-tər \

Definition of dictator for Students

: a person who rules with total power and often in a cruel manner

dictatorship

\dik-ˈtā-tər-ˌship\ noun


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