ty·​ran·​ni·​cal | \ tə-ˈra-ni-kəl How to pronounce tyrannical (audio) , tī- \
variants: or less commonly tyrannic \ tə-​ˈra-​nik How to pronounce tyrannical (audio) , tī-​ \

Definition of tyrannical

: being or characteristic of a tyrant or tyranny : despotic tyrannical rule a tyrannical ruler

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Other Words from tyrannical

tyrannically \ tə-​ˈra-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce tyrannical (audio) , tī-​ \ adverb
tyrannicalness \ tə-​ˈra-​ni-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce tyrannical (audio) , tī-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for tyrannical



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Examples of tyrannical in a Sentence

Everyone was afraid of their overbearing and tyrannical boss. a tyrannical ruler whose terrible reign was marked by unceasing violence
Recent Examples on the Web The implication is that his tyrannical behavior is relatively new. Helen Epstein, The New York Review of Books, "The Truth About Museveni’s Crimes," 23 Feb. 2021 Police unions argue that the provisions guarantee fair treatment and protect rank-and-file officers from the whims of tyrannical chiefs or sheriffs. Bryn Stole, baltimoresun.com, "After contentious debate, Senate panel amends then advances measure to replace Maryland’s police ‘Bill of Rights’," 20 Feb. 2021 The fourth of the 12 Caesars, Caligula — officially, Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus — was a capricious, combustible first-century populist remembered, perhaps unfairly, as the empire’s most tyrannical ruler. New York Times, "Caligula’s Garden of Delights, Unearthed and Restored," 12 Jan. 2021 Joe Biden’s presidency, just like the film’s fictional government, presents itself as a sigh of relief, saving us from a tyrannical and unjust predecessor. Yasmina Price, Vulture, "The Still-Burning Fire of Born in Flames," 3 Feb. 2021 The federal government has a duty to ensure that organizations and industries taking federal funds are not being used to create or sustain any tyrannical mandates from state and local governments. Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner, "Andy Biggs bill would ban federal funds going to mask and vaccine mandates," 25 Jan. 2021 The fourth of the 12 Caesars, Caligula — officially, Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus — was a capricious, combustible first-century populist remembered, perhaps unfairly, as the empire's most tyrannical ruler. Star Tribune, "Caligula's garden of delights, unearthed and restored," 14 Jan. 2021 Quartet shows that continuities, rather than ruptures, have defined the history of Turkish autocracy over the past century: Germanophile Young Turks were as tyrannical as Abdülhamid. Kaya Genç, The New Republic, "When Historical Fiction Is a Crime," 30 Dec. 2020 And a tyrannical ideology that seeks to destroy not only freedom but innocence, too. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Can We Please Get Serious about Protecting Religious Freedom?," 2 Nov. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tyrannical

Latin tyrannicus, from Greek tyrannikos, from tyrannos tyrant

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Time Traveler for tyrannical Time Traveler

The first known use of tyrannical was in the 15th century

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Statistics for tyrannical

Last Updated

7 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tyrannical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tyrannical. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for tyrannical



English Language Learners Definition of tyrannical

: using power over people in a way that is cruel and unfair


ty·​ran·​ni·​cal | \ tə-ˈra-ni-kəl How to pronounce tyrannical (audio) \

Kids Definition of tyrannical

: relating to or like that of tyranny or a tyrant tyrannical acts

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