Definition of dictator in English:



  • 1A ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained control by force.

    • ‘The company depends on grabbing diamonds from whoever controls them, even if they are tyrants or dictators.’
    • ‘We see a dictator using force to repress and persecute his opponents.’
    • ‘This war is not about democracy; our history shows that we have put more right-wing dictators in power throughout the world than we have supported democracy.’
    • ‘Moreover, American distrust of government has long fed on the abuses of state power abroad, whether by despotic monarchs, fascist dictators or communist tyrants.’
    • ‘Their wealth is being drained via corrupt Governments and dictators and the international community is turning a blind eye’
    • ‘Nevertheless, even absolute monarchs or totalitarian dictators are constrained by forces beyond their control.’
    • ‘Stalin has metamorphosed into a totalitarian dictator intent on conquest, and the storm clouds of a new conflict gather.’
    • ‘Assassinating dictators and toppling undemocratic regimes doesn't sound so bad, in the end.’
    • ‘We have struggled courageously to topple the dictator and establish democracy.’
    • ‘If the genes of violence are in many of us, why are they less likely to be in democratically elected rulers than in dictators?’
    • ‘He has stood up to petty tyrants, from dogmatic Communists, through McCarthyites to third-world dictators.’
    • ‘First of all, we have been supporting despots, dictators, and oligarchs in all those states for a variety of purposes.’
    • ‘Why bother, ask many commentators, expending moral indignation on a totalitarian dictator who is universally despised?’
    • ‘Terrorists, extremists, dictators, and leaders with narrow interests have led the human race into wars and violence for centuries in the name of justice, religion, and revenge.’
    • ‘The pig leader Napoleon and his rival Snowball symbolize the dictator Stalin and the Communist leader Leon Trotsky.’
    • ‘Instead of building bridges of friendship to the people of Central Asia, we are instead aligning ourselves with the brutal dictators who oppress them.’
    • ‘There are many countries in the world where the unfortunate people living there, are subject to the whims of corrupt dictators who have managed to gain power, usually by force.’
    • ‘They have allowed terrorists, anarchists, dictators and religious fanatics to flourish within their borders.’
    • ‘We opposed him from day one, because it was clear that he was a socialist dictator and a tyrant.’
    • ‘Kings and dictators might be very good at imposing order, but as early bankers learned the hard was they can't be trusted to pay back their debts.’
    autocrat, monocrat, absolute ruler
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    1. 1.1 A person who behaves in an autocratic way.
      • ‘The ability of the surgeon to allow himself to become a partner, not a dictator, is critical.’
      • ‘Lucky to still be up, I assume they're fishing around for rich dictators as we speak, plus a manager, plus a defence.’
      • ‘They are not representative of the public and are behaving like dictators.’
      • ‘But golf is also such a threat to autocrats and dictators because it is a game that is built around the rule of law - namely the Rules of Golf.’
      • ‘Saturday night the truth will be spoken and it will come from none other than boxing's dictator over the last decade, Roy Jones Jr.’
      autocrat, despot, tyrant, absolutist
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    2. 1.2 (in ancient Rome) a chief magistrate with absolute power, appointed in an emergency.
      • ‘Caesar was declared dictator of Rome by the now submissive Senate.’
      • ‘Caesar was a warlord and a dictator, but if one can look past that, as ridiculous as it sounds, then one would also notice that Caesar did a lot of good for Rome.’
      • ‘Sulla used his power as dictator to refashion the Roman state.’
      • ‘Gaius Octavius, as Augustus was originally known, was 18 when in 43 BC his great-uncle, the dictator Julius Caesar, was assassinated.’
      • ‘The Society took its name from the Roman dictator Fabius, nicknamed ‘Cunctator’, or delayer.’
      • ‘The realism of the Romans about the relationships between power and consent can be seen in the office of dictator, for dictatorship was a constitutional office in republican Rome.’
      • ‘In the early first century BC the dictator Sulla sought to eliminate his opponents by ‘proscribing’ the names of all those who were declared to be traitors.’
      • ‘In 46BC Cleopatra arrives in Rome; Caesar is appointed dictator for 10 years; he revises the calendar’
      • ‘Finally the republic was torn to pieces by rival power-hungry tribunes or dictators like Pompey, Sulla, and Julius Caesar.’
      • ‘The strategy of the dictator Fabius prevented further losses.’
      • ‘He defeated Pompey's troops in many battles and became the dictator of Rome.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, from dictat- ‘dictated’, from the verb dictare (see dictate).