Definition of tyranny
1 : oppressive power <every form of tyranny over the mind of man — Thomas Jefferson>; especially : oppressive power exerted by government <the tyranny of a police state>
3 : a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force <living under the tyranny of the clock — Dixon Wecter>
4 : an oppressive, harsh, or unjust act : a tyrannical act <workers who had suffered tyrannies>
Examples of tyranny in a sentence
Cars freed Americans, already infamous for their mobility, from the tyranny of train schedules. —Cynthia Crossen, Wall Street Journal, 7 May 2003
Berlin remains a central attraction, and the evanescence of tyranny is a highlight of the visit. —William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review, 27 Sept. 1999
For in creating a cultural orthodoxy designed to combat racism, urban disorder, and a legacy of oppression, we subject ourselves to delusional dogma, the tyranny of conformity, and language that rings of fascist imagery. —Gerald Early, Harper's, January 1997
The refugees were fleeing tyranny.
He was dedicated to ending the tyranny of slavery.
a nation ruled by tyranny
She felt lost in the bureaucratic tyrannies of the university system.
The king sought an absolute tyranny over the colonies.
Origin and Etymology of tyranny
Middle English tyrannie, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin tyrannia, from Latin tyrannus tyrant
First Known Use: 14th century
TYRANNY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tyranny for English Language Learners
: cruel and unfair treatment by people with power over others
: a government in which all power belongs to one person : the rule or authority of a tyrant
TYRANNY Defined for Kids
Definition of tyranny for Students
1 : an act or the pattern of harsh, cruel, and unfair control over other people
2 : a government in which all power is in the hands of a single ruler
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up tyranny? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).