the·​oc·​ra·​cy thē-ˈä-krə-sē How to pronounce theocracy (audio)
plural theocracies
: government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
: a state governed by a theocracy

Examples of theocracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Together, the 11 countries have a population of some 3.7 billion people but comprise five democracies, three authoritarian states, two autocratic monarchies and a theocracy — among them Saudi Arabia and Iran, sworn enemies until a few months ago. Lynsey Chutel, New York Times, 25 Aug. 2023 For hard-liners in Tehran’s theocracy, the move projects power to surrounding nations as part of a wave of assaults attributed to Iran since 2019. Jon Gambrell, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Aug. 2023 Officials in Iran’s theocracy initially dismissed these incidents, but now describe them as intentional attacks involving some 30 schools identified in local media reports, with some speculating they could be aimed at trying to close schools for girls in this country of over 80 million people. Jon Gambrell, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Feb. 2023 The acknowledgement by a news website linked to the highest reaches of Iran's theocracy renews pressure on the West to address Tehran's program, which had been contained by the 2015 nuclear deal from which America unilaterally withdrew in 2018. Jon Gambrell, ajc, 24 Feb. 2023 Additionally, the aging patriarch, hoarding his family’s wealth and forcing them into squalor for a chance at personal glory, can be seen as an allegory to Iran’s theocracy. Jon Gambrell, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2023 The rebellion on display presents yet another challenge to the legitimacy of a theocracy that views itself as the global spiritual leader of Shiite Muslims. Farnaz Fassihi,, 13 Aug. 2023 Saudi Arabia is a brutal theocracy helmed by a crown prince who was directly involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, a US intelligence report found. Allison Morrow, CNN, 7 June 2023 Holding a replica of the National Monument to the Forefathers at Plymouth, Mass., Cameron delivered a brief homily about America as a once and future theocracy. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Greek theokratia, from the- + -kratia -cracy

First Known Use

1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of theocracy was in 1622

Dictionary Entries Near theocracy

Cite this Entry

“Theocracy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


the·​oc·​ra·​cy thē-ˈäk-rə-sē How to pronounce theocracy (audio)
plural theocracies
: government of a country by officials believed to have divine guidance
: a country governed by a theocracy

More from Merriam-Webster on theocracy

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