dictator

noun
dic·​ta·​tor | \ ˈdik-ˌtā-tər How to pronounce dictator (audio) , dik-ˈtā-\

Definition of dictator

1a : a person granted absolute emergency power especially, history : one appointed by the senate (see senate sense 1a) of ancient Rome
b : one holding complete autocratic control : a person with unlimited governmental power
c : one ruling in an absolute (see absolute sense 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 dictate entry 1 sense 1)

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Examples of dictator in a Sentence

The country was ruled by a military dictator. the dictator had a fierce stranglehold on the country, keeping its people in poverty and ignorance

Recent Examples on the Web

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the President of Turkmenistan, is a dictator who often uses stunts to distract from the abuses of his totalitarian government. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Turkmenistan Dictator Goes Off-Roading Near Fiery 'Door to Hell' (To Prove He's Not Dead)," 9 Aug. 2019 If the president plays the dictator, and disrespects opposing viewpoints, don’t be surprised at the short list of applicants for board seats. San Diego Union-Tribune, "HOA Homefront: Reasons some don’t serve on board," 27 July 2019 What began as spontaneous protests last December due to sluggish economic growth turned into a massive peaceful uprising that ended with the removal in April of one of Africa’s longest-serving dictators, Omar al-Bashir. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Sudan’s street protests have inspired another revolution—in art," 12 July 2019 Or about how his companion, Rosario Murillo, has acquired all the eccentricities of a dictator’s wife—the crappy poetry readings, the spiritual séances, the crazy makeup, the offering of her own daughter for her husband’s bed. Alma Guillermoprieto, The New York Review of Books, "A Reporting Life in Latin America," 6 June 2019 Before Greece, Rehhagel, who developed a reputation as an eccentric dictator, had already had a long coaching career. SI.com, "Otto Rehhagel: The 'King' Who Turned 150/1 Greek Outsiders into Champions of Europe," 19 July 2019 Libya slid into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi. NBC News, "Brother of Manchester Arena suicide bomber arrested in UK," 17 July 2019 In a statement, the North's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of violating the spirit of negotiations between President Donald Trump and dictator Kim Jong Un by proceeding with military maneuvers scheduled for next month. Min Joo Kim, Anchorage Daily News, "North Korea hints it may resume nuclear testing, accuses U.S. of reneging on pact," 16 July 2019 One by one, longtime dictators and strongmen from Libya to Egypt to Tunisia succumbed to popular protests, stepped aside, or were violently overthrown. Fox News, "Jordan buckling under pressure of growing refugee crisis," 12 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of dictator

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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 dictate entry 1

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.

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Statistics for dictator

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for dictator

The first known use of dictator was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for dictator

dictator

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dictator

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

dictator

noun
dic·​ta·​tor | \ ˈdik-ˌtā-tər How to pronounce dictator (audio) \

Kids Definition of dictator

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

Other Words from dictator

dictatorship \ dik-​ˈtā-​tər-​ˌship \ noun

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