verb (used without object), tyr·an·nized, tyr·an·niz·ing.

to exercise absolute power or control, especially cruelly or oppressively (often followed by over).
to govern despotically, cruelly, or oppressively.
to govern or reign as a tyrant.

verb (used with object), tyr·an·nized, tyr·an·niz·ing.

to rule or govern tyrannically; treat oppressively.

Also especially British, tyr·an·nise.

Origin of tyrannize

1485–95; < French tyranniser < Late Latin tyrannizāre, equivalent to tyrann(us) tyrant + -izāre -ize
Related formstyr·an·niz·er, nountyr·an·niz·ing·ly, adverbout·tyr·an·nize, verb (used with object), out·tyr·an·nized, out·tyr·an·niz·ing.un·tyr·an·nized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for tyrannize

trample, dictate, persecute, dominate, domineer

Examples from the Web for tyrannize

Contemporary Examples of tyrannize

  • Perhaps most important, the idea of putting tyrants on trial has caught on in the countries they tyrannize.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Take Gaddafi Alive

    Geoffrey Robertson

    August 23, 2011

Historical Examples of tyrannize

  • She will tyrannize over you, just as her mother does over the old man.

  • They pet and tyrannize over Daisy by turns, and she is getting spoilt.

    Little Men

    Louisa May Alcott

  • And never (“hardly ever”) has monopoly been able to recover its chance to tyrannize and rob!

    The Arena


  • And who does not know how ruthlessly women will tyrannize when they are let to domineer?

  • At present, the servants are set above, defy, and tyrannize over the masters.

    Church Reform

    Richard Carlile

British Dictionary definitions for tyrannize




(when intr, often foll by over) to rule or exercise power (over) in a cruel or oppressive manner
Derived Formstyrannizer or tyranniser, 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 tyrannize

late 15c., from Middle French tyranniser (14c.), from tyrannie (see tyranny). Related: Tyrannized; tyrannizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper