Definition of tyrannize in US English:


(British tyrannise)


[with object]
  • Rule or treat (someone) despotically or cruelly.

    ‘she tyrannized her family’
    no object ‘he tyrannizes over the servants’
    • ‘It is a sad fact that from early childhood we are tyrannised by the moral myth that it is right, proper and good to leap out of bed the moment we wake in order to set about some useful work as quickly and cheerfully as possible.’
    • ‘What will the other states who tyrannise their people, the terrorists who threaten our existence, what will they take from that?’
    • ‘Though I wouldn't have been able to express it at the time, this story of the shy, ungraceful daughter tyrannized by a contemptuous father struck home, struck a chord in my home.’
    • ‘The first of these two parts depicts a local hood who tyrannizes a family, until, having finally had enough, the family stands in unison against him.’
    • ‘And Letwin was happy to defend Blunkett, saying: ‘I do not think it would be right to accuse the government of trying to tyrannise the citizen’.’
    • ‘Antifederalists feared that a powerful national government might tyrannize the people and displace the important power of self-government they associated with state government.’
    • ‘Like Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, she was tyrannized by her own image, driven to new levels of vanity in an endless, and ultimately foolish, pursuit of fame and immortality.’
    • ‘The next question he had for me concerned who ‘they’ were and why I was allowing them to tyrannize me.’
    • ‘The ‘rule of law’ would give way to a ‘rule of men’ who tyrannized their wives and their compatriots.’
    • ‘And by the way, tyrannized people DO write about being trapped in language-games, or have you never read an East European novel?’
    • ‘Here Doyle's rhetoric begins to echo the US men's movement that campaigns bitterly - if rather quietly - about women controlling the domestic agenda, and tyrannising men with their strident demands for independence.’
    • ‘Well I do think it's rather tyrannising us at the moment, certainly.’
    • ‘You have security, and no landlord could tyrannise you.’
    • ‘Some of these tyrannies have moved beyond tyrannising their own people to threatening their neighbours and their regions.’
    • ‘Tyrants should be left free to tyrannise their own people’
    • ‘No hungry person ever pined for deconstruction; no tyrannised person ever felt they were trapped in a language game.’
    • ‘Our youth love luxury, they show disrespect for the elders, they contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties from the table and tyrannise their teachers.’
    • ‘I am not saying it to you simply to tyrannise you, if I am wrong, I want to know where I am wrong.’
    • ‘It doesn't have any responsibility to make war to get rid of somebody who tyrannizes his own people.’
    • ‘Every time Duritz tyrannizes her, Janet responds with amusing riffs.’
    domineer over, dominate, order about, order around, dictate to, browbeat, intimidate, bully, ride roughshod over, lord it over, keep someone under one's thumb
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Late 15th century: from French tyranniser, from tyran ‘tyrant’.