Definition of tyranny in English:

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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).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tyr·an·ny

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