Definition of tinpot in US English:



  • attributive (especially of a country or its leader) having or showing poor leadership or organization.

    ‘a tinpot dictator’
    • ‘What is worse is we will prosecute that person for working with legitimate Government agencies as a private contract officer to overthrow some other tinpot dictator in a country that he or she has invaded or taken control of.’
    • ‘I mean, he's really just a garden variety tinpot dictator.’
    • ‘France's foreign policy is driven by soulless sycophants who are willing to suck the sweat off the balls of any megalomaniacal tinpot dictator who will award them a few contracts and lend international support.’
    • ‘Why on earth is the USA supposed to be responsible for the unending disasters of every African tinpot country?’
    • ‘This tinpot Caesar is in open revolt against the intellectual banality and poverty of his home life - the house is decorated with framed tourist posters of Florence and Rome - and by his lack of cash.’
    • ‘It is absolute blackmail and that was said to members of the Authority and various chairmen by tinpot politicians.’
    • ‘This is the perennial excuse of tinpot dictators the world over.’
    • ‘Soon these two rather different pursuits become intertwined as our designated heroes find themselves under assault from a tinpot dictator and a greedy Western industrialist.’
    • ‘They have been plagued by infamous tinpot dictators whose corrupt practices, brutality and habitual inefficiency left many Latin American countries mired in political and economic instability for much of the 20th century.’
    • ‘Ridding the world of tinpot dictators and ‘a scattered network of killers’, or fighting AIDS, do not quite capture a similar sense of ambition.’
    • ‘Without the latter, he would just be a tinpot dictator of a small 3rd world country.’
    • ‘This uniquely dangerous man is on the very cusp of unseating the tinpot dictators, having apparently captured the imagination of his countrymen, from the highest to the lowest, with terrorist acts and bizarre situationist stunts.’
    • ‘Now the boy's being hauled before the courts for having been part of a plot to overthrow some tinpot dictator in Equatorial Mongolia or some such place.’
    • ‘If one of my students had got a scholarship, people would have just said they were sorry, but he or she came from a tinpot country school.’
    • ‘Within months, the carefully groomed leader became a tinpot dictator, setting a trend that would endure in all the fractured states of West Africa.’
    • ‘Roosevelt, the most powerful man in the world at that time, lavished attention on our closest ally while virtually ignoring the tinpot dictator of a small, weak country who was once silly enough to declare war on our ally.’
    • ‘But the trend for tinpot lifestyle dictators can't last forever.’
    • ‘The rather pathetic attempts to compare this tinpot dictator of a ruined little country to Hitler, master of an imperial superpower, are a sign of desperation within the pro-war lobby.’
    • ‘I imagine some tinpot dictator strutting about, telling his latest mistress that if the damn Yanks don't pay up, then no reform will be had.’
    • ‘Maybe it's time to organise a trip to some tinpot African country to boost my image.’
    inferior, second-rate, third-rate, gimcrack
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