tyranny

noun
tyr·​an·​ny | \ˈtir-ə-nē \
plural tyrannies

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

2a : a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler especially : one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state

b : the office, authority, and administration of a tyrant

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Beneath the rhetorical veneer of consumer empowerment one finds the petty tyranny of choice: freedom is reduced to deciding which app to trust with your dearest information. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Private Telegram, Public Strife," 3 July 2018 Credit: Lyft The second update aims to sidestep the tyranny of the rating system. James Vincent, The Verge, "Lyft adds driver-friendly features including default tipping option," 15 Nov. 2018 To hell with the aesthetic tyranny of chilly modernism! Kelsey Keith, Curbed, "The inaugural monthly column from Curbed’s editor-in-chief turns an eye to Postmodernism, following the loss of Robert Venturi," 24 Sep. 2018 Laws— good or bad—are able to upend the tyranny of individual choice and impose collective action from the outside. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Driving Without a Smartphone," 10 July 2018 Snyder explored the ghastly consequences of tyranny and the breakdown of human values and norms in the center of Europe. Margaret Macmillan, New York Times, "Are We Traveling the ‘Road to Unfreedom’?," 9 May 2018 Amid the pressure to create a Palestinian state, the easiest thing to do is ignore the warning signs that statehood today would result in even more tyranny and bloodshed. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, "The Palestinians’ Worst Enemy Is Their Own Leaders," 30 Oct. 2018 Stephen Greenblatt examines tyranny through close readings of Shakespeare’s greatest despots. Time Staff, Time, "Best Nonfiction Books of 2018 So Far," 11 June 2018 Unshackling scripted shows from the tyranny of linear programming has also given fans more power than network marketers who don't speak the language. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "What Brought Sense8 Back—and What Killed It in the First Place," 8 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tyranny

Middle English tyrannie, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin tyrannia, from Latin tyrannus tyrant

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Statistics for tyranny

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for tyranny

The first known use of tyranny was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tyranny

tyranny

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tyranny

: 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

noun
tyr·​an·​ny | \ˈtir-ə-nē \
plural tyrannies

Kids Definition of tyranny

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

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Comments on tyranny

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