dic·​ta·​to·​ri·​al ˌdik-tə-ˈtȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce dictatorial (audio)
: of, relating to, or befitting a dictator
dictatorial power
: ruled by a dictator
: oppressive to or arrogantly overbearing toward others
dictatorially adverb
dictatorialness noun
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 In an interview on Fox News, Trump’s reliable friend and promoter Sean Hannity offered the former President a chance to dismiss the growing public alarm over his dictatorial aspirations as just so much whinging by the liberal media. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2023 Creatives are particular targets of Iran’s dictatorial government whose uneven rule follows an extreme interpretation of the tenets of Islam. Lily Moayeri, Spin, 8 Sep. 2023 Navalny has often lamented that Russians never mustered a sustained uprising against Putin’s dictatorial rule. David M. Herszenhorn, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 The adventure tale follows a rebellious teenage squirrel who faces off against a dictatorial owl who has banned all music from his town. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Oct. 2023 Dressed in a traditional hanbok dress, Park urged the audience to support North Koreans suffering under the dictatorial rule of the Kim dynasty. Will Sommer, Washington Post, 16 July 2023 And the idea that Jobim, in fighting not just to compose the album but to arrange and mastermind it, was acting like some sort of dictatorial guru is absurd. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 12 Oct. 2023 Holding their nose at its dictatorial leadership, European countries have been courting Azerbaijan with zeal for its energy. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 21 Sep. 2023 There, his dictatorial regime pushed through social and economic reforms that ironically laid the foundation for today’s flourishing Taiwanese democracy. Alexander V. Pantsov, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dictatorial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of dictatorial was in 1587

Dictionary Entries Near dictatorial

Cite this Entry

“Dictatorial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dictatorial. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on dictatorial

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!