- a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly.
- any person in a position of authority who exercises power oppressively or despotically.
- a tyrannical or compulsory influence.
- an absolute ruler, especially one in ancient Greece or Sicily.
Origin of tyrant
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for tyrant
On Christmas weekend, a North Korean tyrant has decided what American teenagers will see on the silver screen.The Sony Hack and America’s Craven Capitulation To Terror
December 19, 2014
After clashing with coach Victor Tikhonov, a KGB-installed tyrant, he chose to challenge the government and defect to the NHL.Putin’s Hockey Pal Tells All: Slava Fetisov on ‘Red Army,’ Soviet Nostalgia, and What Drives Putin
October 9, 2014
Rivers continued on her political, authoritarian monologue by describing what kind of tyrant she would be.What Joan Rivers Said She Would Do If She Were Dictator of America
September 5, 2014
And that isn't even the biggest political problem with Tyrant.
On Tyrant, which premiered Tuesday night, this is what passes for political drama.
The man is the head of the family, but he must not be a tyrant.An Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism
Do not consider me as your master—your tyrant; do not imagine that I think you ungrateful!Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
He lays his finger on the tyrant's head, and he sinks into the dust!Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. II
Francis Augustus Cox
A tyrant's authority for crime and fool's excuse for failure.The Devil's Dictionary
When the People have no other tyrant, their own public opinion becomes one.Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
- a person who governs oppressively, unjustly, and arbitrarily; despot
- any person who exercises authority in a tyrannical manner
- anything that exercises tyrannical influence
- (esp in ancient Greece) a ruler whose authority lacked the sanction of law or custom; usurper
Word Origin and History for tyrant
c.1300, "absolute ruler," from Old French tyrant (12c.), from Latin tyrannus "lord, master, tyrant" (cf. Spanish tirano, Italian tiranno), from Greek tyrannos "lord, master, sovereign, absolute ruler," a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor (probably Lydian); cf. Etruscan Turan "mistress, lady" (surname of Venus).
In the exact sense, a tyrant is an individual who arrogates to himself the royal authority without having a right to it. This is how the Greeks understood the word 'tyrant': they applied it indifferently to good and bad princes whose authority was not legitimate. [Rousseau, "The Social Contract"]
The spelling with -t arose in Old French by analogy with present participle endings in -ant. Fem. form tyranness is recorded from 1590 (Spenser); cf. Medieval Latin tyrannissa (late 14c.).