tyr·​an·​nize ˈtir-ə-ˌnīz How to pronounce tyrannize (audio)
tyrannized; tyrannizing

intransitive verb

: to exercise arbitrary oppressive power or severity
some ways the living tyrannize over the dyingThomas Powers

transitive verb

: to treat tyrannically : oppress
a regime that tyrannizes its citizens
tyrannizer noun

Examples of tyrannize in a Sentence

a government that tyrannizes its own people
Recent Examples on the Web Saddam Hussein tyrannized Iraq for 12 years after his troops were routed in Kuwait in 1991. Daniel Treisman, Foreign Affairs, 2 Nov. 2022 The mechanics of Shakespeare’s plot — unfolding first in rigid, tyrannized Sicilia and then in pastoral, sunnier Bohemia — hinge on our rooting for the characters Leontes so cruelly censures. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 In the process, these majority ethnic coalitions tyrannize and marginalize other groups, particularly those that are not members of the coalition. John Mukum Mbaku, Washington Examiner, 18 Mar. 2021 In Portsmouth, Virginia, cops have been systematically using their state power to tyrannize political enemies. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, 28 Aug. 2020 In such societies, counters Madison, a majority will tyrannize the minority. Corey Robin, The New York Review of Books, 13 Apr. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tyrannize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of tyrannize was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near tyrannize

Cite this Entry

“Tyrannize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tyrannize. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


tyr·​an·​nize ˈtir-ə-ˌnīz How to pronounce tyrannize (audio)
tyrannized; tyrannizing
: to act like a tyrant
tyrannizer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on tyrannize

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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