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

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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

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 In the cottagecore universe, there are no phones pinging constantly with updates, no urgent work emails, no evenings spent responding to the onerous demands of a tyrannical boss. Isabel Slone, New York Times, "Escape Into Cottagecore, Calming Ethos for Our Febrile Moment," 10 Mar. 2020 Government propaganda at home portrayed the communist USSR as godless, tyrannical and antithetical to individual freedoms. Oana Godeanu-kenworthy, The Conversation, "How socialism became un-American through the Ad Council’s propaganda campaigns," 27 Feb. 2020 Seberg suffered from Preminger’s tyrannical direction and received actual burns during Joan’s death scene on the stake and had to be rescued. Susan Kingwriter, Los Angeles Times, "The real life Jean Seberg and the tragic tale behind Kristen Stewart’s ‘Seberg’," 26 Feb. 2020 The United States is highly vulnerable to epidemic disease because the president is a corrupt, tyrannical moron who can't do the job. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Trump's coronavirus response is worse than incompetent," 26 Feb. 2020 India is a major battleground country for smartphone manufacturers, thanks to the combination of the world's second-highest population along with a more open market compared to the tyrannical rules imposed by the government in China. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "The Poco X2 smartphone packs a 120Hz display, six cameras for $225," 4 Feb. 2020 Further complicating the show's gender-bending, Hedwig is supported on stage by her husband Yitzhak, a put-upon drag queen whom the tyrannical Hedwig has forbidden to wear drag. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A teenager's love for rock 'n' roll fuels Milwaukee Rep's new production of 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch'," 23 Jan. 2020 The operating assumption is that, otherwise, one component would accumulate too much power and inevitably fall prey to the tyrannical temptation. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The Hole in the Impeachment Case," 18 Jan. 2020 Vikings Season Premiere For Vikings’ sixth and final season, the action picks up after a brutal battle between brothers Bjorn and Ivar, the latter of whom lost, ending his tyrannical rule over the people of Kattegat. Ew Staff, EW.com, "What to Watch on Wednesday: Four perform, one goes home on The Masked Singer," 4 Dec. 2019

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

30 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tyrannical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tyrannical. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for tyrannical


How to pronounce tyrannical (audio)

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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