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Definition of "despotism" []

  • Rule by or as if by a despot; absolute power or authority. (noun)
  • The actions of a despot; tyranny. (noun)
  • A government or political system in which the ruler exercises absolute power: "Kerensky has a place in history, of a brief interlude between despotisms” ( William Safire). (noun)
  • A state so ruled. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "despotism" in a sentence
  • "Loud were the complaints of these gentry at what they called the despotism of the new governor-general, on finding themselves excluded from that participation in state secrets in which they had long reveled, in a country where so much advantage may be derived from knowing beforehand what is coming at headquarters."
  • "Church is self-subsisting and not necessarily connected with what they call despotism, begin to regard it as a Divine institution and return to her fold. '"
  • "Marx envisioned cooperation among all workers - the employed and unemployed - in labor unions as the means to destroy what he called the despotism of capitalism."