Definition of dictator in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdikˌtādər/


1A ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force.
Example sentences
  • Nevertheless, even absolute monarchs or totalitarian dictators are constrained by forces beyond their control.
  • First of all, we have been supporting despots, dictators, and oligarchs in all those states for a variety of purposes.
  • Moreover, American distrust of government has long fed on the abuses of state power abroad, whether by despotic monarchs, fascist dictators or communist tyrants.
autocrat, absolute ruler, despot, tyrant, oppressor, autarch
1.1A person who tells people what to do in an autocratic way or who determines behavior in a particular sphere: the prewar era was a period whose apple-cheeked dictator was Doris Day
More example sentences
  • They are not representative of the public and are behaving like dictators.
  • But golf is also such a threat to autocrats and dictators because it is a game that is built around the rule of law - namely the Rules of Golf.
  • The ability of the surgeon to allow himself to become a partner, not a dictator, is critical.
1.2(In ancient Rome) a chief magistrate with absolute power, appointed in an emergency.
Example sentences
  • He defeated Pompey's troops in many battles and became the dictator of Rome.
  • Gaius Octavius, as Augustus was originally known, was 18 when in 43 BC his great-uncle, the dictator Julius Caesar, was assassinated.
  • In the early first century BC the dictator Sulla sought to eliminate his opponents by ‘proscribing’ the names of all those who were declared to be traitors.
2A machine that records words spoken into it, used for personal or administrative purposes.


Late Middle English: from Latin, from dictat- 'dictated', from the verb dictare (see dictate).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dic·ta·tor

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