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See more synonyms for theocracy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural the·oc·ra·cies.
  1. a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
  2. a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
  3. a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.
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Origin of theocracy

From the Greek word theokratía, dating back to 1615–25. See theo-, -cracy
Related formsthe·o·crat·ic [thee-uh-krat-ik] /ˌθi əˈkræt ɪk/, the·o·crat·i·cal, adjectivethe·o·crat·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·the·o·crat·ic, adjectivenon·the·o·crat·i·cal, adjectivenon·the·o·crat·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for theocracy


noun plural -cies
  1. government by a deity or by a priesthood
  2. a community or political unit under such government
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Derived Formstheocrat, nountheocratic or theocratical, adjectivetheocratically, adverb
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 theocracy


1620s, "sacerdotal government under divine inspiration" (as that of Israel before the rise of kings), from Greek theokratia "the rule of God" (Josephus), from theos "god" (see Thea) + kratos "a rule, regime, strength" (see -cracy). Meaning "priestly or religious body wielding political and civil power" is recorded from 1825.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

theocracy in Culture



A nation or state in which the clergy exercise political power and in which religious law is dominant over civil law. Iran led by the Ayatollah Khomeini was a theocracy under the Islamic clergy. (See Islam.)

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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.