dic·ta·to·ri·al | \ˌdik-tə-ˈtȯr-ē-əl \

Definition of dictatorial 

1a : of, relating to, or befitting a dictator dictatorial power

b : ruled by a dictator

2 : oppressive to or arrogantly overbearing toward others

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Other Words from dictatorial

dictatorially \-ē-ə-lē \ adverb
dictatorialness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dictatorial


absolute, arbitrary, autocratic (also autocratical), czarist (also tsarist), despotic, tyrannical (also tyrannic), tyrannous



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Choose the Right Synonym for dictatorial

dictatorial, magisterial, dogmatic, doctrinaire, oracular mean imposing one's will or opinions on others. dictatorial stresses autocratic, high-handed methods and a domineering manner. exercised dictatorial control over the office magisterial stresses assumption or use of prerogatives appropriate to a magistrate or schoolmaster in forcing acceptance of one's opinions. the magisterial tone of his pronouncements dogmatic implies being unduly and offensively positive in laying down principles and expressing opinions. dogmatic about what is art and what is not doctrinaire implies a disposition to follow abstract theories in framing laws or policies affecting people. a doctrinaire approach to improving the economy oracular implies the manner of one who delivers opinions in cryptic phrases or with pompous dogmatism. a designer who is the oracular voice of fashion

Examples of dictatorial in a Sentence

He was given dictatorial powers. a dictatorial leader with total control over people's lives

Recent Examples on the Web

With few exceptions, repression has returned to the Middle East and North Africa, as dictatorial regimes have learned to master digital technology. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Facebook Has a Genocide Problem," 15 Mar. 2018 Many of those references have been made in the context of Trump's dictatorial tendencies and popularity among white supremacists. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: Why did Richard Cordray link some Ohio Republicans to Nazi collaborators?," 25 June 2018 So, our government took out Árbenz, and replaced him with a reactionary, former military officer — who promptly assumed dictatorial powers. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "We Owe Central American Migrants Much More Than This," 21 June 2018 Ortega had returned to power and established an electoral system that critics say virtually guaranteed him dictatorial powers indefinitely. Stephen Kinzer, BostonGlobe.com, "Miguel Obando y Bravo, 92, key figure in Nicaraguan turmoil," 4 June 2018 Opposition parties were largely blocked from fielding candidates and sought a boycott of the vote amid concerns Maduro was trying to cement dictatorial power. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Hillary Clinton warns of ‘a full-fledged crisis in our democracy’ at Yale," 21 May 2018 Xi’s consolidation of dictatorial powers makes a mockery of the once-popular idea that the opening up of China’s economy would lead to unstoppable pressure for free speech and other civil liberties. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Xi whiz! Trump is a beacon of hope to world's emerging dictators | Will Bunch," 27 Feb. 2018 In the wake of the international success of Battle Royale, the young-adult literature market exploded with similar sagas about teens fighting each other to the death, by dictatorial edict. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The First Purge’s release makes this a good weekend to watch Battle Royale on Netflix," 6 July 2018 In 2012, Juan Orlando Hernandez, then the president of Honduras’s National Congress and today the increasingly dictatorial country’s right-wing president, conspired to sack four of the five Supreme Court justices and replace them with his allies. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Court-packing, Democrats’ nuclear option for the Supreme Court, explained," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dictatorial.' 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 dictatorial

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dictatorial

Latin dictātōrius "of a dictator" (derivative of dictātor dictator) + -al entry 1

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for dictatorial

The first known use of dictatorial was in 1587

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English Language Learners Definition of dictatorial

: of, relating to, or ruled by a dictator

—used to describe a person who tries to control other people in a forceful and unfair way

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to teach someone the beliefs of a group

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