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despotism Syllabification: des·pot·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈdespəˌtizəm/

Definition of despotism in English:


1The exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and oppressive way: the King’s arbitrary despotism
More example sentences
  • The fact is that every Christian government that preceded them thought that Christianity implied tyranny, despotism, and the oppression of non-Christians.
  • He wanted to free Europe from tyranny, oppression and despotism.
  • I do admire in that work your condemnation of arbitrary power and despotism as destructive of freedom.
1.1A country or political system where the ruler holds absolute power.
Example sentences
  • Machiavelli relied heavily on the dichotomy between republican and princely government, Montesquieu on a trichotomy of republics, monarchies, and despotisms.
  • Russia closely resembled the ancient Oriental despotisms such as those in Mesopotamia and pharaonic Egypt, where the rulers were the exclusive owners of all that lay within their domain.
  • Of course, history has been replete with despotisms and petty dictatorships.


Early 18th century: from French despotisme, from despote (see despot).

Definition of despotism in:
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