Dictionary.com

despotism

[ des-puh-tiz-uhm ]
/ ˈdɛs pəˌtɪz əm /
Save This Word!

noun
the rule of a despot; the exercise of absolute authority.
absolute power or control; tyranny.
an absolute or autocratic government.
a country ruled by a despot.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of despotism

From the French word despotisme, dating back to 1720–30. See despot, -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use despotism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for despotism

despotism
/ (ˈdɛspəˌtɪzəm) /

noun
the rule of a despot; arbitrary, absolute, or tyrannical government
arbitrary or tyrannical authority or behaviour
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

Cultural definitions for despotism

despotism
[ (des-puh-tiz-uhm) ]

Unlimited political rule by one person.

notes for despotism

The term usually suggests unscrupulous rule, or tyranny.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
FEEDBACK