[te-trahrk, tee-]
  1. any ruler of a fourth part, division, etc.
  2. a subordinate ruler.
  3. one of four joint rulers or chiefs.
  4. the ruler of the fourth part of a country or province in the ancient Roman Empire.

Origin of tetrarch

1350–1400; Middle English, tetrarcha, tetrarke < Late Latin tetrarcha, variant of Latin tetrarchēs < Greek tetrárchēs. See tetr-, -arch
Related formste·trar·chy, te·trarch·ate [te-trahr-keyt, -kit, tee-] /ˈtɛ trɑrˌkeɪt, -kɪt, ˈti-/, nounte·trar·chic [te-trahr-kik, ti-] /tɛˈtrɑr kɪk, tɪ-/, te·trar·chi·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tetrarchy

Historical Examples of tetrarchy

British Dictionary definitions for tetrarchy


  1. the ruler of one fourth of a country
  2. a subordinate ruler, esp of Syria under the Roman Empire
  3. the commander of one of the smaller subdivisions of a Macedonian phalanx
  4. any of four joint rulers
Derived Formstetrarchate (tɛˈtrɑːˌkeɪt, -kɪt), nountetrarchic or tetrarchical, adjectivetetrarchy, noun

Word Origin for tetrarch

C14: from Greek tetrarkhēs; see tetra-, -arch
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

Word Origin and History for tetrarchy



late Old English tetrarche "ruler of one of four divisions of a kingdom or province," from Late Latin tetrarcha, from Greek tetrarkhes "leader of four companies, tetrarch," from tetra- "four" (see tetra-) + arkhein "to rule" (see archon). Applied generally to subordinate rulers in the Roman Empire, especially in Syria.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper