A a


    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA
    • UK Pronunciation
    • UK IPA
    • [uh-thawr-i-tair-ee-uh n, uh-thor-]
    • /əˌθɔr ɪˈtɛər i ən, əˌθɒr-/
    • /ˌɔː.θɒr.ɪˈteə.ri.ən/
    • US Pronunciation
    • US IPA
    • [uh-thawr-i-tair-ee-uh n, uh-thor-]
    • /əˌθɔr ɪˈtɛər i ən, əˌθɒr-/

Definitions of authoritarian word

  • adjective authoritarian If you describe a person or an organization as authoritarian, you are critical of them controlling everything rather than letting people decide things for themselves. 3
  • adjective authoritarian An authoritarian is someone who is authoritarian. 3
  • adjective authoritarian favouring, denoting, or characterized by strict obedience to authority 3
  • adjective authoritarian favouring, denoting, or relating to government by a small elite with wide powers 3
  • adjective authoritarian despotic; dictatorial; domineering 3
  • noun authoritarian a person who favours or practises authoritarian policies 3

Information block about the term

Origin of authoritarian

First appearance:

before 1875
One of the 25% newest English words
First recorded in 1875-80; authorit(y) + -arian

Historical Comparancy

Parts of speech for Authoritarian


authoritarian popularity

A common word. It’s meaning is known to most children of preschool age. About 75% of English native speakers know the meaning and use the word.
Most Europeans know this English word. The frequency of it’s usage is somewhere between "mom" and "screwdriver".

authoritarian usage trend in Literature

This diagram is provided by Google Ngram Viewer

Synonyms for authoritarian

adj authoritarian

  • dictatorial — Dictatorial means controlled or used by a dictator.
  • imperious — domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing: an imperious manner; an imperious person.
  • totalitarian — of or relating to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.
  • strict — characterized by or acting in close conformity to requirements or principles: a strict observance of rituals.
  • rigid — stiff or unyielding; not pliant or flexible; hard: a rigid strip of metal.

noun authoritarian

  • autocrat — An autocrat is a person in authority who has complete power.
  • dictator — A dictator is a ruler who has complete power in a country, especially power which was obtained by force and is used unfairly or cruelly.
  • tyrant — a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly.
  • despot — A despot is a ruler or other person who has a lot of power and who uses it unfairly or cruelly.
  • absolutist — the principle or the exercise of complete and unrestricted power in government.

adjective authoritarian

  • demanding — A demanding job or task requires a lot of your time, energy, or attention.
  • domineering — inclined to rule arbitrarily or despotically; overbearing; tyrannical: domineering parents.

Antonyms for authoritarian

adj authoritarian

  • democratic — A democratic country, government, or political system is governed by representatives who are elected by the people.
  • lenient — agreeably tolerant; permissive; indulgent: He tended to be lenient toward the children. More lenient laws encouraged greater freedom of expression.
  • submissive — inclined or ready to submit or yield to the authority of another; unresistingly or humbly obedient: submissive servants.
  • flexible — capable of being bent, usually without breaking; easily bent: a flexible ruler.
  • yielding — inclined to give in; submissive; compliant: a timid, yielding man.

Top questions with authoritarian

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See also

Matching words

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