- a king or other ruler with absolute, unlimited power; autocrat.
- any tyrant or oppressor.
- History/Historical. an honorary title applied to a Byzantine emperor, afterward to members of his family, and later to Byzantine vassal rulers and governors.
Origin of despot
Examples from the Web for despot
This is the sort of delusion that sets in when a despot confuses himself with the state after too long in power.Putin’s Sochi and Hitler’s Berlin: The Love Affair Between Dictators and the Olympic Games.
February 7, 2014
Hundreds have “martyred” themselves fighting Syrian despot Bashar al Assad.The Coming of Al Qaeda 3.0
August 6, 2013
From the start, we see him as he is: a despot and a swindler, a Dallas blue-blood with FBI ties, fleeing a violent past.This Week’s Hot Reads, July 15, 2013
Sarah Stodola, Jen Vafidis, Damaris Colhoun
July 15, 2013
This is the first time a Latin American despot has faced trial for such charges in his own country.Trial of an American Ally: Ghosts of Foreign Policy Past in Guatemala
March 24, 2013
First she writes, “Obama refuses to draw the red line that will serve to stop the evil intentions of the Iranian despot.”The Pro-Holocaust Vote
October 23, 2012
Other arts were employed by the despot for the attainment of his desires.
The legislator must purify them, and if he be not a despot he will find this task to be a difficult one.Laws
Isn't it almost enough to justify a man like Rossi that he has to meet a despot like that?The Eternal City
He had dethroned the despot, and the honors were his by right of conquest.Once to Every Man
Or if there is a despot, 'tis the king's jester, who laughs at the king as well as all his subjects.Dreamers of the Ghetto
- an absolute or tyrannical ruler; autocrat or tyrant
- any person in power who acts tyrannically
- a title borne by numerous persons of rank in the later Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empiresthe despot of Servia
Word Origin and History for despot
1560s, "absolute ruler," from Old French despot (14c.), from Medieval Latin despota, from Greek despotes "master of a household, lord, absolute ruler," from PIE *dems-pota-; for first element see domestic (adj.); second element cognate with Latin potis, potens (see potent).
Faintly pejorative in Greek, progressively more so as used in various languages for Roman emperors, Christian rulers of Ottoman provinces, and Louis XVI during the French Revolution. The female equivalent was despoina "lady, queen, mistress," source of the proper name Despina.