Definition of autocracy in English:



mass noun
  • 1A system of government by one person with absolute power.

    • ‘Eventually, autocracy should go the way of slavery and colonialism as simply unacceptable.’
    • ‘That is why democracy is superior to autocracy, and art and literature are valued more than mere sense enjoyment.’
    • ‘However, democracy can default into anarchy, autocracy, liberalism, plutocracy, republic, just about anything, if the majority desires a leader who is representative of that.’
    • ‘I hope that the council will now return to democracy rather than autocracy.’
    • ‘But today those who revere the sovereignty of the state above all else often do so to preserve autocracy, and those who champion the sovereignty of the people are the new progressives.’
    • ‘It is generally customary to consider the doctrine largely in connection with those states which have been proponents of power, autocracy, and absolutism.’
    • ‘And as a form of social protest against autocracy and political tyranny, there is no medium that can surpass cartoons.’
    • ‘And only sometimes does the fall of autocracy produce democracy; as often as not, it produces a new form of dictatorship.’
    • ‘Generations of people around the world have endured autocracy and dictatorship, totalitarianism, fascism, monarchy, oligarchy and even anarchy without knowing freedom.’
    • ‘Monarchy and autocracy did not sink for ever in Europe.’
    • ‘In some respects the title of the book is misleading, because it seems to suggest that autocracy has ended and democracy has been enabled.’
    • ‘Leaders of such societies were accountable to their people, and vice versa, with systems of penalties and rewards limiting autocracy.’
    • ‘Second, was liberal democracy or autocracy the future for the governance of mankind's common affairs?’
    • ‘Britain's industrial revolution was not without is severe dislocations, the first French Revolution was not an orderly progression from autocracy to democracy and the Great Leap Forward didn't go there.’
    • ‘Such political scientists have since been recanting and admitting that One Party states simply bred autocracy and misrule by refusing to tolerate criticism and dissent.’
    • ‘Those fine distinctions - democracy, autocracy, monarchy, whatever - are not good for business.’
    • ‘We're trying to overthrow the very concept of tyranny and autocracy.’
    • ‘What they all had in common was that they weren't particularly democratic, being variations either on autocracy or on bureaucratic totalitarianism.’
    • ‘It makes evident the fine line between democracy and autocracy.’
    • ‘It has also brought about a greater understanding of different cultures and it allowed democracy to triumph over autocracy.’
    absolutism, absolute power, totalitarianism, dictatorship, despotism, tyranny, monocracy, autarchy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A state or society governed by one person with absolute power.
      ‘the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was an autocracy’
      • ‘Regardless, we must remember that, while we are at war with no democracy, we have had to intervene in a lot of autocracies in the last twenty years.’
      • ‘Our government and the corporations whose investments it protects have propped up corrupt monarchies and single-party autocracies.’
      • ‘Aid agencies subsidized the worst collectivist autocracies, underwriting the very policies responsible for Third World poverty.’
      • ‘And states in transition are more likely than either stable democracies or autocracies to become involved in wars.’
      • ‘Most of them are inefficient and backward autocracies.’
      • ‘We are at risk of becoming an autocracy in three key respects.’
      • ‘Poor democracies have grown at least as fast as poor autocracies and have significantly outperformed the latter on most indicators of social well-being.’
      • ‘As compelling as the development-first thesis sounds, the empirical evidence is clear: democracies consistently outperform autocracies in the developing world.’
      • ‘According to the magazine, people living in low-income democracies live, on average, nine years longer than their counterparts in autocracies.’
      • ‘Previously an autocracy, it moved closer to becoming a true constitutional monarchy when the King announced ambitious political changes.’
    2. 1.2 Domineering rule or control.
      ‘a boss who shifts between autocracy and consultation’
      • ‘She talked both about the patriarchal autocracy that prevails in many households, and about the ways it affects women.’
      • ‘We in the Western nations long ago recognized autocracy in the public sector as poison, no matter how well-meaning the autocrat might be.’
      • ‘The defining battle of our era is to reestablish citizen rule over our government, our economy, our environment, and our society - and this requires the defeat of today's corporate autocracy.’
      • ‘The proper name for its workers is ‘associates,’ a term that connotes higher status and collegiality and that actually means lower pay and workplace autocracy.’
      • ‘The plutocratic autocracy that is the White House has been imperiously dismissive of America's Constitutional systems of checks and balances, attempting to govern by executive fiat.’
      • ‘Economic liberalization and behind the scenes military autocracy combined with a localistic nationalism became an influential new model.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘autonomy’): from Greek autokrateia, from autokratēs (see autocrat).