• synonyms

philosopher king

  1. the Platonic ideal of a ruler, philosophically trained and enlightened.
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Origin of philosopher king

First recorded in 1920–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for philosopher-king

Historical Examples of philosopher-king

  • But if the President was not the philosopher-king, what was he?

    The Economic Consequences of the Peace

    John Maynard Keynes

  • So thought the philosopher-King of Prussia, when he let his regiments out of garrison to go and face the enemy.

  • A smile in Plato at the sight of his philosopher-King in such strange company might well be pardoned.

  • Diceneus, philosopher-king of Dacia, perhaps Cassiodorus' ideal of a king, 32.

    The Letters of Cassiodorus

    Cassiodorus (AKA Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator)

  • Shall we, then, have the philosopher-king, as Europe dimly seems to half expect?

philosopher-king in Culture


In the Republic by Plato, the ideal ruler, who has the virtue and wisdom of a philosopher.

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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.