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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Guns flowed in from Cuba and Nicaragua, and the US offered full political and financial support to the Salvadoran military dictatorship. Rachel Nolan, The New York Review of Books, "‘I’ve Lost Everything to the Beast’," 27 Apr. 2021 For Tammy and me, there was a war in our parents’ country in 1950, and there was a dictatorship that arose out of that war. Lauren Ro, Vulture, "How Time to Say Goodbye Became the Only Asian American Podcast Saying the Hard Stuff," 9 Apr. 2021 Fears of a return to dictatorship were overblown, the diplomats said. Andre Paultre And Sarah Marsh, The Christian Science Monitor, "The battle for democracy goes on in Haiti as Moïse gains power," 30 Mar. 2021 What’s most striking is the song’s direct demand for freedom and blunt challenge to the dictatorship and its lies. James Freeman, WSJ, "The Sound of Liberty in Cuba," 26 Feb. 2021 During these years, Piazzolla frequently returned to Argentina, even during the 1976-83 military dictatorship — a brutal regime that sent his daughter, a social activist, into exile in Mexico. Los Angeles Times, "They called him tango’s assassin. But Astor Piazzolla’s musical reboot made him a legend," 15 Apr. 2021 During President Park Chung-hee’s military dictatorship in South Korea, an authoritarian central government facilitated development even when most of the actual business was technically in private hands. Mike Bird, WSJ, "How Military Leadership Hollows Out an Economy," 24 Feb. 2021 Congo suffered through one of the world's most brutal colonial reigns before undergoing decades of corrupt dictatorship. NBC News, "Italian ambassador among 3 killed in attack on Congo convoy," 22 Feb. 2021 By that August, the price of a SIM card had dropped to $1.50 from a high of about two thousand dollars during the dictatorship. Doug Bock Clark, The New Yorker, "In Myanmar, A Digital-Savvy Nation Poses a New Challenge for the Military," 2 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dictatorship

Time Traveler for dictatorship

Time Traveler

The first known use of dictatorship was in 1542

See more words from the same year

Statistics for dictatorship

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dictatorship.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dictatorship. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dictatorship



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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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