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90s Slang You Should Know


[uh-thawr-i-tair-ee-uh n, uh-thor-] /əˌθɔr ɪˈtɛər i ən, əˌθɒr-/
favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom:
authoritarian principles; authoritarian attitudes.
of or relating to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.
exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another or of others:
an authoritarian parent.
a person who favors or acts according to authoritarian principles.
Origin of authoritarian
First recorded in 1875-80; authorit(y) + -arian
Related forms
authoritarianism, noun
antiauthoritarian, adjective
antiauthoritarianism, noun
nonauthoritarian, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for authoritarian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At this yielding he, being by nature an authoritarian, seemed not a little pleased.

    The God of Love Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • These are the authoritarian or State Socialist and the individualist methods.

    Anarchy Errico Malatesta
  • The earlier Liberalism had to deal with authoritarian government in church and state.

    Liberalism L. T. Hobhouse
  • To assume this would be to make of the "citizen" an "authoritarian" democrat.

    Anarchism and Socialism George Plechanoff
  • Self-hypnosis further lessens dependency for no authoritarian figure is used.

British Dictionary definitions for authoritarian


favouring, denoting, or characterized by strict obedience to authority
favouring, denoting, or relating to government by a small elite with wide powers
despotic; dictatorial; domineering
a person who favours or practises authoritarian policies
Derived Forms
authoritarianism, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for authoritarian

1862, "favoring imposed order over freedom," from authority + -an. Cf. authoritative, which originally had this meaning to itself. Noun in the sense of one advocating or practicing such governance is from 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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