tyranny

noun
tyr·​an·​ny | \ ˈtir-ə-nē How to pronounce tyranny (audio) \
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 The ultimate luxury now is not only convenience but also being freed from the tyranny of choice. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 11 June 2021 Biden, who was born during World War II, when Nazi tyranny ruled Europe, and came of age in the Cold War, has identified a fateful moment. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 10 June 2021 Forgoing a face covering before being fully vaccinated doesn't strike a blow against tyranny. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, 18 May 2021 The people of Hong Kong deserve to have their descent into tyranny recorded. Fred Mcmahon And Michael Walker, WSJ, 31 Mar. 2021 Last year, Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate best known for his work on the causes of famine, who is now eighty-seven, wrote in the Guardian about his country’s slide toward tyranny. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, 9 May 2021 In her email, which was obtained by NBC News, the activist and attorney identified the power of social media companies to censor conservatives as the most immediate threat of corporate tyranny. NBC News, 7 Apr. 2021 China is a hard challenge for liberal democrats precisely because its tyranny in the name of the majority is backed by lots of Chinese, albeit at a terrible cost to outliers and minorities. Star Tribune, 4 Apr. 2021 Here was tyranny applied by people against governments. Brian Domitrovic, Forbes, 4 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More About tyranny

Time Traveler for tyranny

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tyranny

Last Updated

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tyranny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tyranny. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce tyranny (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on tyranny

Nglish: Translation of tyranny for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tyranny for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tyranny

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