dom·​i·​neer·​ing | \ ˌdä-mə-ˈnir-iŋ How to pronounce domineering (audio) \

Definition of domineering

: inclined to exercise arbitrary and overbearing control over others

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Other Words from domineering

domineeringly adverb
domineeringness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for domineering

masterful, domineering, imperious, peremptory, imperative mean tending to impose one's will on others. masterful implies a strong personality and ability to act authoritatively. her masterful personality soon dominated the movement domineering suggests an overbearing or arbitrary manner and an obstinate determination to enforce one's will. children controlled by domineering parents imperious implies a commanding nature or manner and often suggests arrogant assurance. an imperious executive used to getting his own way peremptory implies an abrupt dictatorial manner coupled with an unwillingness to brook disobedience or dissent. given a peremptory dismissal imperative implies peremptoriness arising more from the urgency of the situation than from an inherent will to dominate. an imperative appeal for assistance

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To be domineering is to behave like a lord. (The word lordly doesn't express quite the same thing.) Someone who tells you what you can wear or what friends you can spend time with could be called domineering; so could someone who always decides what you're going to do with your free time. Those of us who grow up with a domineering parent usually flee as soon as we're old enough.

Examples of domineering in a Sentence

the younger children in the family were controlled by a domineering older sister
Recent Examples on the Web Spears’s relationship with Jamie, who could be domineering and hostile toward his daughter, was strained. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 3 July 2021 Elizabeth, a housewife and mother of six, had simply stood up to her domineering husband. Kate Moore, Time, 22 June 2021 To better fit the role of a domineering boss, Streep somtimes laced her real-life interactions with Blunt and Hathaway with ice. Joey Nolfi,, 14 June 2021 And then in the summers I would get sent off to the U.K. to stay with my granny, who was a sort of incredible force of nature and a very domineering woman, also an incredible woman. CBS News, 2 June 2021 The Baleros have owned the circuit for years, thanks to domineering stage mom Michelle and her three mean-girl daughters, McKayla, McKenzie, and McCall. James Montgomery, Rolling Stone, 29 May 2021 The elder son, Caleb, is eager to mold himself in his domineering father’s image. Washington Post, 28 May 2021 The film, which is streaming on Amazon Prime, is set in the present day, in and around the sprawling compound of a wealthy and domineering landowner, Kuttapan Panachel (PN Sunny). Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 1 June 2021 Bluey can be domineering; Bingo gets lost in her own world. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 24 May 2021

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

1588, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for domineering

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The first known use of domineering was in 1588

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Dictionary Entries Near domineering



Domine, quo vadis?

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Domineering.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for domineering



English Language Learners Definition of domineering

: tending too often to tell people what to do : often trying to control the behavior of others

More from Merriam-Webster on domineering

Nglish: Translation of domineering for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of domineering for Arabic Speakers


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