an autocratic government her autocratic management style
illiberal, domineering, doctrinaire, dogmatic, draconian, overweening, overbearing, bossy, high-handed, peremptory, imperious, harsh, strict, severe, rigid, inflexible, unyielding;
[Antonyms] democratic, liberal
Choose the right word
autocratic, despotic, tyrannical
These words are all more or less critical descriptions of someone's exercise of power.Autocratic is used of a person in sole power ( the autocratic ruler of a vast territory). It is also typically used to describe a leader or director or someone's rule, style, leadership, or management. Autocratic also implies a disregard of the welfare and wishes of the people being ruled and an unwillingness to share power ( autocratic, serf-ridden tsarist Russia). It is the most technical and objective term of the three and is contrasted with democratic, but is also used more commonly than the other two words to describe the character of an ordinary person as well as a political leader ( any second now he would ring the doorbell in his usual autocratic, impatient manner).Despotic is an emotionally loaded word, used of someone who not only holds great power but also exercises it cruelly and oppressively ( the cruel, corrupt, and despotic Shah). The noun that it most commonly qualifies is regime, which itself has disapproving connotations.Tyrannical refers to cruel exercise of power by a group or individual who cannot be called to account ( he had been devastated by the oppression of the tyrannical landowner). Nouns that it commonly qualifies include government, master, regime, rule, and despot.