Definition of despotism in English:

despotism

noun

  • 1[mass noun] The exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and oppressive way.

    ‘the ideology of enlightened despotism’
    • ‘America was born in a revolution against Western imperialism, born as a haven of freedom against the tyrannies and despotism, the wars and intrigues of the old world.’
    • ‘Some believe that the only solution for government in parts of the world is for there to be tyranny or despotism.’
    • ‘This places limits on governments and reduces the likelihood of tyranny and despotism.’
    • ‘The primary cause of all this danger is the Arab world's endemic despotism, corruption, poverty, and economic stagnation.’
    • ‘In a word, no distinction was now drawn between despotism, tyranny, and absolute monarchy.’
    • ‘I do admire in that work your condemnation of arbitrary power and despotism as destructive of freedom.’
    • ‘The more we nourish widespread ambition, the less we have to fear the overweening power of mild despotism.’
    • ‘Along with magnanimous Turks and philosophical Persians, the Chinese as exemplars of the world's greatest enlightened despotism played an important role in transforming Europe's self-image.’
    • ‘There is still a recognizable contrast with the European experience on the continent, with absolutism and enlightened despotism.’
    • ‘The corruption and despotism of his regime are not new phenomena.’
    • ‘That's not the rule of law; it's the arbitrary despotism of kings.’
    • ‘This kind of freedom may coincide with the cruellest despotism and with the subjugation of the overwhelming majority of the people.’
    • ‘From exile during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period nobles and clergy who had defended their privileges against enlightened despotism before 1789 now saw things in a different light.’
    • ‘They smack of totalitarian despotism, and their quaint claim for absolute certainty seems anachronistic in this postmodern age of relativism and deconstruction.’
    • ‘The fact is that every Christian government that preceded them thought that Christianity implied tyranny, despotism, and the oppression of non-Christians.’
    • ‘The German law is wider, as it refers to persecution under National Socialism or any other form of despotism or tyranny.’
    • ‘Today we define despotism (along with dictatorship and totalitarianism) as a form of government.’
    • ‘The best way to do this is to actively encourage its sponsoring regimes towards democracy and away from the tyranny and despotism that breeds it.’
    • ‘Cultural sovereigns in their own right, Ovid and Dante, despite official exile from their native home, had made their poetic stand against tyranny and despotism.’
    • ‘He wanted to free Europe from tyranny, oppression and despotism.’
    tyranny, dictatorship, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, absolute rule, absolutism
    oppression, repression, suppression
    autocracy, monocracy, autarchy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[count noun]A country or political system where the ruler holds absolute power.
      ‘some nations are democracies, others are despotisms’
      • ‘Stalin's paranoid nature turned the regime into a dangerous despotism.’
      • ‘Though the Syrian and Iraqi Baath parties were bitter foes, there was consolation in that both were members of a confederacy of despotisms.’
      • ‘As in so much else, the French revolutionary regime was the precursor of the centralized, totalitarian, managerial, pseudo-democratic despotisms that now reign over the West.’
      • ‘He also charged that ‘the men in power are attempting to establish a despotism in this country, more cruel and more oppressive than ever existed before.’’
      • ‘Machiavelli relied heavily on the dichotomy between republican and princely government, Montesquieu on a trichotomy of republics, monarchies, and despotisms.’
      • ‘Russia closely resembled the ancient Oriental despotisms such as those in Mesopotamia and pharaonic Egypt, where the rulers were the exclusive owners of all that lay within their domain.’
      • ‘Not only was their empire a military despotism, it was also peculiarly distrustful of any form of self-help, much less self-government, on the part of its subjects.’
      • ‘Warmongering liberals have effectively been as great a bane to human liberty at home and abroad as any foreign dictator, and a considerable number of modern despotisms have emerged from the wreckage of misguided liberal zeal.’
      • ‘In other words, the United States, to satisfy the State Department and certain of our so-called allies in the region, must be complicit in the creation of a new despotism.’
      • ‘As the poet Walt Whitman once wrote, ‘A democracy may rule as outrageously as a despotism.’’
      • ‘Of course, history has been replete with despotisms and petty dictatorships.’
      • ‘In the modern world it is only despotisms which have recourse to the firing squad or the noose.’
      • ‘The Temple elite did what it took to see that a political charge was made against him and Rome, alive to politics, not theology, did what despotisms do best.’
      • ‘Inside the UN, a bloody despotism is every inch the equal of a liberal democracy.’
      • ‘This was because refugees and terrorists were widely regarded as freedom fighters, against Continental despotisms.’
      • ‘Unless appropriate checks and balances are constructed, we'll inevitably end up with a malign despotism.’
      • ‘Hardly - like DPF, I think that it was a murderous totalitarian despotism whose passing should not be mourned for an instant.’
      • ‘While the existence of dissident voices should never be ignored, the French monarchy was nevertheless viewed by the majority of its subjects not as a despotism, but as a government tempered by the laws.’
      • ‘Russia was a despotism and there's a difference; Britain wasn't, and hadn't been for a long, long time and was never going to be again, and finally that made all the difference.’
      • ‘They typically sealed their victory by unseating kings, although often creating a new despotism.’

Origin

Early 18th century: from French despotisme, from despote (see despot).

Pronunciation:

despotism

/ˈdɛspətɪz(ə)m/