[ti-ran-i-kuhl, tahy-]


of or characteristic of a tyrant.
unjustly cruel, harsh, or severe; arbitrary or oppressive; despotic: a tyrannical ruler.

Sometimes ty·ran·nic.

Origin of tyrannical

1530–40; < Latin tyrannic(us) (< Greek tyrannikós, equivalent to týrann(os) tyrant + -ikos -ic) + -al1
Related formsty·ran·ni·cal·ly, adverbty·ran·ni·cal·ness, nounnon·ty·ran·nic, adjectivenon·ty·ran·ni·cal, adjectivenon·ty·ran·ni·cal·ly, adverbnon·ty·ran·ni·cal·ness, nounpre·ty·ran·ni·cal, adjectivequa·si-ty·ran·ni·cal, adjectivequa·si-ty·ran·ni·cal·ly, adverbun·ty·ran·nic, adjectiveun·ty·ran·ni·cal, adjectiveun·ty·ran·ni·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for tyrannical

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tyrannical

Contemporary Examples of tyrannical

Historical Examples of tyrannical

  • The most tyrannical precepts were obeyed with the greatest docility.

  • Truly a tyrannical son is a blessing to his father and mother!

  • The tyrannical man who has the misfortune also to become a public tyrant.

  • Truly, then, I said, a tyrannical son is a blessing to his father and mother.

  • Yes, he said, that is the way in which the tyrannical man is generated.

British Dictionary definitions for tyrannical


tyrannic (tɪˈrænɪk)


characteristic of or relating to a tyrant or to tyranny; oppressive
Derived Formstyrannically, adverbtyrannicalness, noun
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 tyrannical

1530s; see tyranny + -ical. Tyrannic was used in this sense from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper