Definition of tyranny in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈtirənē/

noun (plural tyrannies)

1Cruel and oppressive government or rule: people who survive war and escape tyranny the removal of the regime may be the end of a tyranny
More example sentences
  • He wanted to free Europe from tyranny, oppression and despotism.
  • Freedom fighters must have some way of overthrowing tyranny, oppression, or imperialism.
  • The Second World War has long been presented to the American people as a ‘Good War,’ a war for democracy against fascism and tyranny.
despotism, absolute power, autocracy, dictatorship, totalitarianism, Fascism;
oppression, repression, subjugation, enslavement;
authoritarianism, bullying, severity, cruelty, brutality, ruthlessness
1.1A nation under cruel and oppressive government.
Example sentences
  • I want our governments to swiftly enable countries that have been tyrannies to become democracies, and to act in collapsed states to prevent genocide.
  • The first was the identification of socialism with the Stalinist tyrannies in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
  • A central problem of socialist politics is to prevent the workers (including socialist entrepreneurs) from creating tyrannies of producers.
1.2Cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control: she resented his rages and his tyranny figurative the tyranny of the nine-to-five day his father’s tyrannies
More example sentences
  • In order to be able to do this, we needed to be free from all kinds of arbitrary power, including majoritarian tyranny.
  • In our conflict with terror and tyranny, we have an unmatched advantage, a power that cannot be resisted, and that is the appeal of freedom to all mankind.
  • Chekhov's childhood was overshadowed by his father's tyranny and religious fanaticism.
1.3(Especially in ancient Greece) rule by one who has absolute power without legal right.
Example sentences
  • Ancient Athens emerged from tyranny for about 100 years and then self-destructed and the Roman republic was never more than an oligarchy until it too became an empire.
  • Was this association with tyranny and treachery the cause of Socrates' trial and conviction?
  • It is more than three hundred years since the Glorious Revolution was to have freed us from the tyranny of an absolute monarchy ruling by divine right.



Pronunciation: /ˈtirənəs/
Example sentences
  • In modern America, private and corporate power, far more than the tyrannous reach of the state, was the major threat to political liberty.
  • Statute is too often knee-jerk, headline-led populism with predictably tyrannous consequences for electorally irrelevant minorities.
  • We are too passive in the face of a more and more intrusive and tyrannous government.


Pronunciation: /ˈtirənəslē/
Example sentences
  • In truth thy Lord destroyed not the townships tyrannously while their folk were doing right.
  • This is not news, but the trailer was tyrannously trapped inside the publisher's website.
  • So it angers and saddens me terribly that our officials despotically ignore the rule of law and tyrannously usurp powers not rightfully theirs.


Late Middle English: from Old French tyrannie, from late Latin tyrannia, from Latin turannus (see tyrant).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.