Definition of dictator in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪkˈteɪtə/


1A ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained control 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, monocrat, absolute ruler;
tyrant, despot, oppressor, absolutist, totalitarian, authoritarian
informal supremo, Big Brother
rare autarch
1.1A person who behaves in an autocratic way.
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.


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

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