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

Definition of dictatorship

1 : the office of dictator
2 : autocratic rule, control, or leadership people suffering under his dictatorship
3a : a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique Communism and dictatorship
b : a government organization or group in which absolute power is so concentrated rising up against a military dictatorship
c : a despotic state establishing a dictatorship

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Examples of dictatorship in a Sentence

The country suffered for many years under his dictatorship. His enemies accused him of establishing a dictatorship.

Recent Examples on the Web

Morsi’s trial — one of several over the years — played out against the backdrop of an increasingly repressive dictatorship under Sisi, the current president. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi dies after collapsing in courtroom," 17 June 2019 Lee Hee-ho, a South Korean feminist activist who fought for democracy against dictatorships alongside her husband and future President Kim Dae-jung, died June 10 in Seoul. Washington Post, "Lee Hee-ho, former South Korean first lady, dies," 11 June 2019 Class privilege is passed from one generation to the next, in countries living under protracted dictatorships and with varied histories of casting off colonial rule and staking claim to rights and land. Yasmine El Rashidi, The New York Review of Books, "Growing Up in Hell," 6 June 2019 Brazil, Argentina and Germany, a virtual World Cup dictatorship that won 11 of the 20 tournaments before this one, have all been overthrown and chased away before the semifinals. John Leicester, chicagotribune.com, "Winds of football change blow at Russia World Cup," 7 July 2018 The Venezuelan dictatorship is trying to use a nationwide power outage against its political opposition by claiming sabotage. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Pressure Mounts in Venezuela," 10 Mar. 2019 As democratic institutions were dismantled by El Comandante’s regime, their cronies grew in wealth and the stage was set for an enduring Ortega dictatorship. Margarita Herdocia, Time, "Nicaragua Is Heading Down the Same Dark Path as Venezuela," 13 June 2018 There is an island monster, never explicitly named as Rafael Trujillo's dictatorship. Vera Castaneda, latimes.com, "Talking to Junot Diaz about 'Islandborn,' his first book for kids," 9 Apr. 2018 The irony in all this is that Mr Ortega was a leader of the left-wing Sandinista revolution which in 1979 toppled the cruel dynastic dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. The Economist, "Daniel Ortega is causing a bloodbath in Nicaragua," 12 July 2018

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

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dictatorship

dictator + -ship, as translation of Latin dictātūra

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Statistics for dictatorship

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for dictatorship

The first known use of dictatorship was in 1542

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English Language Learners Definition of dictatorship

: rule by a dictator : rule, control, or leadership by one person with total power
: a government or country in which total power is held by a dictator or a small group

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Comments on dictatorship

What made you want to look up dictatorship? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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