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, monocratic, 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

The idea of a military coup just seems absurd; so too does Congress giving dictatorial power to President Trump. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "We aren’t alarmed enough about Jeff Sessions’s firing," 8 Nov. 2018 But the same dictatorial force could also be harsh on the students and Matt Beedle, former JIRP Director of Academics and Research, will never forget being a 17-year-old high schooler assigned to radio duty in 1995. Scott Yorko, Popular Mechanics, "Back to Alaska: How a Legendary Glacier Adventure Almost Died When the World Needed It Most," 12 Sep. 2018 Does Google really want to become a tool of the dictatorial communist regime? Casey Newton, The Verge, "Instagram’s verification system is useful, fair, and Twitter should copy it," 29 Aug. 2018 The moves, including opening the country’s 1987 constitution to amendment, have been opposed by several groups and opposition politicians, who fear they are designed to prolong Duterte’s rule and give him dictatorial powers. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "Row delays Duterte speech, rebel deal; Arroyo named speaker," 23 July 2018 Statistics flow directly from many dictatorial governments to UNESCO and then into the SDG reports. Alex Gladstein, The New Republic, "Why Dictators Love Development Statistics," 26 Apr. 2018 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

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

6 Dec 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 enclose within walls

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