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[ti-ran-i-kuh l, tahy-] /tɪˈræn ɪ kəl, taɪ-/
of or characteristic of a tyrant.
unjustly cruel, harsh, or severe; arbitrary or oppressive; despotic:
a tyrannical ruler.
Sometimes, tyrannic.
Origin of tyrannical
1530-40; < Latin tyrannic(us) (< Greek tyrannikós, equivalent to týrann(os) tyrant + -ikos -ic) + -al1
Related forms
tyrannically, adverb
tyrannicalness, noun
nontyrannic, adjective
nontyrannical, adjective
nontyrannically, adverb
nontyrannicalness, noun
pretyrannical, adjective
quasi-tyrannical, adjective
quasi-tyrannically, adverb
untyrannic, adjective
untyrannical, adjective
untyrannically, adverb
2. dictatorial; imperious, domineering. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tyrannically
Historical Examples
  • They loved him tyrannically, on the condition that he should conform to all their prejudices.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • It was in the nights, of course, that retrospect most tyrannically had its way.

    The Furnace

    Rose Macaulay
  • For the next fortnight she took Oscar to walk daily, and watched him tyrannically.

    A Start in Life Honore de Balzac
  • Unfortunately, or luckily, no language is tyrannically consistent.

    Language Edward Sapir
  • Indeed, he had dealt with them very harshly and tyrannically.

  • She thinks he has treated her cruelly and tyrannically, and she will not pretend to worship him.

    There and Back George MacDonald
  • Since you so tyrannically insist upon my remaining, I will finish this garland while you are having your mysterious explanation.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • Remain in the town he had created and ruled so tyrannically, and which he still loved so devotedly, he could not.

    Alaska Ella Higginson
  • Laws would not be "tyrannically executed" as the opposition feared; the "independency of your judges" would prevent that.

  • The Directory had tyrannically seized, as hostages, any relatives of the emigrants upon whom they could lay their hands.

British Dictionary definitions for tyrannically


characteristic of or relating to a tyrant or to tyranny; oppressive
Derived Forms
tyrannically, adverb
tyrannicalness, 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 tyrannically



1530s; see tyranny + -ical. Tyrannic was used in this sense from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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