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.’
    • ‘Everywhere that people lived under totalitarian dictatorships, they felt he was one of them.’
    • ‘In some cases, a republic may be a dictatorial or totalitarian state.’
    • ‘More often, in fact, they are foot soldiers of totalitarian regimes and of mob rule.’
    • ‘The counterpart is used only in totalitarian states or military dictatorships.’
    • ‘They allow for the chaotic nature of totalitarian regimes.’
    • ‘It is characteristic of totalitarian regimes to try to prevent private initiatives in education.’
    • ‘They were not seen as an important force that could potentially undermine totalitarian regimes from within.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We usually connect propaganda to totalitarian regimes and undemocratic societies.’
    • ‘The best way to rid the world of totalitarian regimes is to show their citizens what the rest of the world is really like.’
    • ‘First of all, we all know the difference between a totalitarian regime and a democracy.’
    • ‘In its more moderated and diffused form it blamed the absence of democracy in totalitarian regimes not on the dictators but on the democracies.’
    • ‘Her focus is very much on the centrality of terror to totalitarian regimes.’
    • ‘The Romanian Revolution was the most dramatic of a wave of uprisings that ended totalitarian rule throughout Eastern Europe.’
    • ‘It is also, however, an approach that can be, and has been, misused by totalitarian regimes.’
    • ‘Maybe years of living under totalitarian dictatorships left them no choice but to live large in whatever small ways they can.’
    • ‘That fiction would be laughable were it not so dangerously resonant of totalitarian regimes against which this country once stood firm.’
    • ‘The legislation clears the way for practices commonly identified with totalitarian regimes.’
    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 problem of rehabilitating former totalitarians isn't confined to Western Europe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We are radicals - not extremists and 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.’
    • ‘Like all totalitarians I was a utopian - I knew that things would get better if we could only get rid of certain people.’
    • ‘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 old rationale for bearing with mere authoritarians has crumbled away with the passing of the expansionist Marxist-Leninist totalitarians.’
    • ‘Like the Soviet totalitarians they studied and came to identify with, the radical right excels at power strategies and internal political control.’
    • ‘‘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’.’
    • ‘They are totalitarians in the strictest meaning of the word.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our enemies are the totalitarians who plunged Afghanistan into the Stone Age and who yearn to do the same to America.’
    • ‘When soft totalitarians get into a bureaucracy or university or media, they go for power over the announced aim of their institution.’
    • ‘Twentieth-century totalitarians - fascists and communists - felt constrained to bow toward popular sovereignty with plebiscitary forms.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Shakespeare thus places himself between utopian totalitarians and libertarian fundamentalists.’
    • ‘Most everyone besides committed totalitarians believe such limits are appropriate and they differ mainly on what the limits should be.’
    authoritarian, autocrat, dictator, tyrant, absolutist, despot, fascist, nazi, neo-nazi, stalinist
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