tyrannical

adjective
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 tyrannic (audio) , tī-​ \

Definition of tyrannical

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from tyrannical

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for tyrannical

Synonyms

absolute, arbitrary, autocratic (also autocratical), czarist (also tsarist), despotic, dictatorial, monocratic, tyrannous

Antonyms

limited

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

This tyrannical anti-American regime should not have nuclear weapons. Fox News, "Hannity: The Mueller investigation is a perjury trap," 2 May 2018 In colonial times long guns and rifles were commonly kept and carried to be used to defend against tyrannical government and billigerents. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Dianne, Get Your Gun," 5 Sep. 2018 The first novel introduces readers to a villager named Heloise who witnesses the brutality of the tyrannical Order, which nominally protects the world from wizards with the power to summon horrific demons. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 As a result, one toxic executive can spawn an entire collection of tyrannical bosses. Marie G. Mcintyre, The Seattle Times, "How bad is this workplace? Bosses covered the windows to keep workers from looking out," 14 Nov. 2018 Though he’d been dressed up as a general as a little boy, Mr. Kim hardly seemed to have the résumé to run a tyrannical regime. John Lyons, WSJ, "From ‘Punk Kid’ to 21st Century Tyrant: Kim Jong Un Seizes His Moment," 8 June 2018 Fear is the factor no one wants to address — fear of criminals, fear of terrorists, fear of the government’s turning tyrannical and, perhaps more than anything else, fear of one another. David Joy, New York Times, "Gun Culture Is My Culture. And I Fear for What It Has Become.," 2 Apr. 2018 In the years that followed, Louis became even more tyrannical, doing his best to undermine her authority and impose his own rule over the kingdom. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples," 3 July 2018 And that came to stand for the principle that searches of homes and private papers without very good reasons were tyrannical and unconstitutional. Lillian Cunningham, Washington Post, "Episode 15 of the Constitutional podcast: ‘Privacy’," 15 Jan. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tyrannical

Dictionary Entries near tyrannical

Tyr

tyramine

Tyranni

tyrannical

tyrannicidal

tyrannicide

tyrannid

Statistics for tyrannical

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tyrannical

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tyrannical

tyrannical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of tyrannical

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

tyrannical

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on tyrannical

What made you want to look up tyrannical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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