Share this entry

autocracy Line breaks: au¦toc|racy
Pronunciation: /ɔːˈtɒkrəsi/

Definition of autocracy in English:

noun (plural autocracies)

[mass noun]
1A system of government by one person with absolute power.
Example sentences
  • It is generally customary to consider the doctrine largely in connection with those states which have been proponents of power, autocracy, and absolutism.
  • Generations of people around the world have endured autocracy and dictatorship, totalitarianism, fascism, monarchy, oligarchy and even anarchy without knowing freedom.
  • What they all had in common was that they weren't particularly democratic, being variations either on autocracy or on bureaucratic totalitarianism.
1.1 [count noun] A state or society governed by one person with absolute power: the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was an autocracy
More example sentences
  • As compelling as the development-first thesis sounds, the empirical evidence is clear: democracies consistently outperform autocracies in the developing world.
  • Aid agencies subsidized the worst collectivist autocracies, underwriting the very policies responsible for Third World poverty.
  • We are at risk of becoming an autocracy in three key respects.
1.2Domineering rule or control: a boss who shifts between autocracy and consultation
More example sentences
  • Economic liberalization and behind the scenes military autocracy combined with a localistic nationalism became an influential new model.
  • The defining battle of our era is to reestablish citizen rule over our government, our economy, our environment, and our society - and this requires the defeat of today's corporate autocracy.
  • We in the Western nations long ago recognized autocracy in the public sector as poison, no matter how well-meaning the autocrat might be.


Mid 17th century (in the sense 'autonomy'): from Greek autokrateia, from autokratēs (see autocrat).

Words that rhyme with autocracy

adhocracy, aristocracy, bureaucracy, democracy, gerontocracy, gynaecocracy (US gynecocracy), hierocracy, hypocrisy, meritocracy, mobocracy, monocracy, plutocracy, technocracy, theocracy

Definition of autocracy in:

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.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhôdē
arrogantly superior and disdainful