dictator

noun
dic·​ta·​tor | \ ˈdik-ˌtā-tər, dik-ˈ\

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

Museveni’s opponents often describe him as a dictator, citing his grip on the security forces and ruling party. Rodney Muhumuza, The Seattle Times, "Can we talk? Ugandans try to coax longtime leader to leave," 17 Dec. 2018 One was an opera about Muammar al-Qaddafi, the Libyan dictator, and Poots needed advice. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "Inside The Shed, Manhattan's New State-of-the-Art Cultural Venue," 12 Dec. 2018 The Vietnamese Communist party’s ability to retain power at the same time as freeing markets must appeal to Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, who has vowed to improve his country’s economy. The Economist, "Is North Korea the next Vietnam? Don’t count on it," 12 July 2018 Pompeo hopes to get answers and a firmer commitment from the young dictator, his aides said, but many within U.S. intelligence, defense and diplomatic agencies cautioned against taking Kim at his word. David S. Cloud, latimes.com, "Pompeo heads to North Korea to press Kim on nuclear disarmament," 6 July 2018 In the immortal words of Cher Horowitz: as if! Fashion loves a (sartorial) dictator, and so naturally the industry has already started to look for a suitable heir. Hayley Phelan, New York Times, "Place Your Bets on the New Millennial Pink," 3 July 2018 During the Cold War, Republicans frequently held summit meetings with communist dictators (four times with Chinese premiers and a remarkable twenty times with leaders of the Kremlin). Andrew Preston, The New Republic, "Will Trump Be Nixon in China?," 11 June 2018 Kim was cheered by onlookers who caught sight of the dictator, who until earlier this spring was not believed to have ever left North Korea as supreme leader. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Trump, Kim set to meet for historic summit," 11 June 2018 Chosun Ilbo reports that during Trump’s first meeting with Kim, the North Korean dictator asked about the nickname. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Mike Pompeo Will Give Kim Jong-un Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ on CD," 6 July 2018

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

17 Jan 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 \

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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