Definition of totalitarian in US English:



  • Relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.

    ‘a totalitarian regime’
    • ‘These are simply obstacles in his drive for an absolute autocracy and totalitarian power.’
    • ‘The best way to rid the world of totalitarian regimes is to show their citizens what the rest of the world is really like.’
    • ‘The legislation clears the way for practices commonly identified with totalitarian regimes.’
    • ‘They were not seen as an important force that could potentially undermine totalitarian regimes from within.’
    • ‘The counterpart is used only in totalitarian states or military dictatorships.’
    • ‘That fiction would be laughable were it not so dangerously resonant of totalitarian regimes against which this country once stood firm.’
    • ‘It is also, however, an approach that can be, and has been, misused by totalitarian regimes.’
    • ‘The Romanian Revolution was the most dramatic of a wave of uprisings that ended totalitarian rule throughout Eastern Europe.’
    • ‘In some cases, a republic may be a dictatorial or totalitarian state.’
    • ‘In its more moderated and diffused form it blamed the absence of democracy in totalitarian regimes not on the dictators but on the democracies.’
    • ‘More often, in fact, they are foot soldiers of totalitarian regimes and of mob rule.’
    • ‘We usually connect propaganda to totalitarian regimes and undemocratic societies.’
    • ‘Maybe years of living under totalitarian dictatorships left them no choice but to live large in whatever small ways they can.’
    • ‘They allow for the chaotic nature of totalitarian regimes.’
    • ‘Everywhere that people lived under totalitarian dictatorships, they felt he was one of them.’
    • ‘Her focus is very much on the centrality of terror to totalitarian regimes.’
    • ‘First of all, we all know the difference between a totalitarian regime and a democracy.’
    • ‘It is characteristic of totalitarian regimes to try to prevent private initiatives in education.’
    • ‘Once they came to power they turned to totalitarian dictatorships.’
    • ‘For it came into a world previously marked by despotism, by tyranny, by totalitarian control.’
    authoritarian, autocratic, autarchic, dictatorial, tyrannical, oppressive, repressive, one-party, monocratic, absolute, absolutist, undemocratic, anti-democratic, illiberal, despotic, fascist, fascistic, nazi, neo-nazi, stalinist
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  • A person advocating a totalitarian system of government.

    • ‘The totalitarians spoke a populist language in countries like the United States, but where they achieved power every vestige of democracy was wiped out.’
    • ‘The problem of rehabilitating former totalitarians isn't confined to Western Europe.’
    • ‘We are radicals - not extremists and totalitarians.’
    • ‘Like the Soviet totalitarians they studied and came to identify with, the radical right excels at power strategies and internal political control.’
    • ‘Twentieth-century totalitarians - fascists and communists - felt constrained to bow toward popular sovereignty with plebiscitary forms.’
    • ‘And the admiration and support that Western Leftists regularly displayed for Communism before the Soviet implosion shows that Leftists in democratic countries share the same underlying values as the Leftist totalitarians.’
    • ‘Their ultimate objective is a radical new caliphate that seeks to dominate the Middle East and to intimidate the free world, as totalitarians have tried over past decades.’
    • ‘Shakespeare thus places himself between utopian totalitarians and libertarian fundamentalists.’
    • ‘While I agree that the National Socialist party did have true socialist elements I must stress that I think the great gulf between any democratic party or politician and totalitarians should always be acknowledged.’
    • ‘Most everyone besides committed totalitarians believe such limits are appropriate and they differ mainly on what the limits should be.’
    • ‘The right-wing totalitarians had been ill-intentioned, at least from the point of view of anyone not included in the master race, defined in more than one way along the Axis.’
    • ‘The old rationale for bearing with mere authoritarians has crumbled away with the passing of the expansionist Marxist-Leninist totalitarians.’
    • ‘They are totalitarians in the strictest meaning of the word.’
    • ‘Our enemies are the totalitarians who plunged Afghanistan into the Stone Age and who yearn to do the same to America.’
    • ‘‘A vote for Respect is a vote for totalitarians in an unconvincing left wing costume,’ he declared, before giving lukewarm support to the Liberal Democrats, who ‘took a clear anti-war line’.’
    • ‘The last thing the Government should be doing is to give this sort of helping hand to those besuited theocratic totalitarians who have learnt that there are some things you think and others you say.’
    • ‘When soft totalitarians get into a bureaucracy or university or media, they go for power over the announced aim of their institution.’
    • ‘Like all totalitarians I was a utopian - I knew that things would get better if we could only get rid of certain people.’
    authoritarian, autocrat, dictator, tyrant, absolutist, despot, fascist, nazi, neo-nazi, stalinist
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