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

Prayuth, meanwhile, insists that his dictatorship is reluctant and temporary. Time, "Thailand’s Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," 21 June 2018 Campbell was an anti-Semite and Jung was sympathetic to the fascist dictatorships of Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Jordan Peterson’s Tired Old Myths," 21 May 2018 Expanding the story past the end of Margaret Atwood’s novel expands the world fruitfully, filling in the details of its patriarchal dictatorship and exploring how all the parts of a system of oppression work. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "On That ‘Barry’ Finale and Why Some Shows Are So Good, They Need to End," 13 May 2018 Older, conservative South Koreans, who remembered the dictatorship of Park's father fondly as a period of strength for the country, were her electoral base and a common sight throughout the impeachment process. Paula Hancocks, CNN, "Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye sentenced to 24 years in prison," 6 Apr. 2018 Striking a balance between justice for victims and getting a political deal to facilitate a transition from dictatorship to democracy is difficult. José De Córdoba, WSJ, "With Old Escape Routes Gone, Dictators Hang On," 3 Aug. 2018 For many of his supporters, this clean slate outweighs his history as a retired army captain who has publicly sympathized with Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship and has often lashed out against gays, blacks and indigenous and women’s rights. Paulo Trevisani, WSJ, "With Few Jobs and Much Anger, Brazilians Go to the Polls," 25 Oct. 2018 Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro attends a rally in Caracas on Jan. 23 in support of his government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez. Maolis Castro, WSJ, "U.S. Recognizes Venezuelan Opposition Leader as Interim President," 23 Jan. 2019 Things did not work out as smoothly for the Western-aligned Congo, however: The country was taken over by Mobutu Sese Seko, who would change its name to Zaire and lead one of the most corrupt and ruthless dictatorships of the 20th century. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "That Time a CIA Spyplane Had to Dodge a Spear During the Cold War," 14 Jan. 2019

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

23 Apr 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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