the·​oc·​ra·​cy | \thē-ˈä-krə-sē \
plural theocracies

Definition of theocracy 

1 : government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided

2 : a state governed by a theocracy

Examples of theocracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate cleric within the theocracy, always supported a diplomatic solution to end the state of war on the Korean Peninsula. Nasser Karimi, Fox News, "Iran, spurned by US, angrily watches Trump-North Korea talks," 10 June 2018 Iraqi Shiites have historically resisted Iran’s efforts to export its theocracy to Iraq and are likely to do so in the near future, no matter how much Iran invests its resources into the holy shrine cities. Ranj Alaaldin, Washington Post, "What Iraq’s election means for its Shiite militias," 12 May 2018 In its 40th year, Iran’s theocracy looks in poor health. The Economist, "Iran’s anaemic economy is pushing people over the edge," 28 June 2018 Some might argue that memes have no role in the Iranian theocracy. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "Middle East diplomacy is being done via GIF now: How it’s come to this," 5 June 2018 Iran is a Shiite theocracy overseen from the top by Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state. Nasser Karimi,, "Report: Students harshly criticize Iran to supreme leader," 29 May 2018 The Orthodox parties in the ruling coalition campaign for a Jewish theocracy over an Israeli democracy. Jeff Stein, Newsweek, "A Secret History of Israeli Assassinations," 2 Feb. 2018 Are upwards of 300 million Americans really being governed by a theocracy of a dozen commanders in Boston? Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "A Maddening Season Finale for The Handmaid’s Tale," 11 July 2018 The poor were thought to be the regime’s last bastion of power, tied to theocracy by piety and the welfare state. Reuel Marc Gerecht And, WSJ, "Don’t Fear Regime Change in Iran," 11 June 2018

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

1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for theocracy

Greek theokratia, from the- + -kratia -cracy

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Statistics for theocracy

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for theocracy

The first known use of theocracy was in 1622

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English Language Learners Definition of theocracy

: a form of government in which a country is ruled by religious leaders

: a country that is ruled by religious leaders

More from Merriam-Webster on theocracy

See words that rhyme with theocracy Encyclopedia article about theocracy

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a private place of worship

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