Definition of despotism in English:

despotism

noun

mass noun
  • 1The exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and oppressive way.

    ‘the ideology of enlightened despotism’
    • ‘The fact is that every Christian government that preceded them thought that Christianity implied tyranny, despotism, and the oppression of non-Christians.’
    • ‘He wanted to free Europe from tyranny, oppression and despotism.’
    • ‘I do admire in that work your condemnation of arbitrary power and despotism as destructive of freedom.’
    • ‘This kind of freedom may coincide with the cruellest despotism and with the subjugation of the overwhelming majority of the people.’
    • ‘There is still a recognizable contrast with the European experience on the continent, with absolutism and enlightened despotism.’
    • ‘Some believe that the only solution for government in parts of the world is for there to be tyranny or despotism.’
    • ‘Today we define despotism (along with dictatorship and totalitarianism) as a form of government.’
    • ‘The corruption and despotism of his regime are not new phenomena.’
    • ‘Along with magnanimous Turks and philosophical Persians, the Chinese as exemplars of the world's greatest enlightened despotism played an important role in transforming Europe's self-image.’
    • ‘From exile during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period nobles and clergy who had defended their privileges against enlightened despotism before 1789 now saw things in a different light.’
    • ‘That's not the rule of law; it's the arbitrary despotism of kings.’
    • ‘The more we nourish widespread ambition, the less we have to fear the overweening power of mild despotism.’
    • ‘In a word, no distinction was now drawn between despotism, tyranny, and absolute monarchy.’
    • ‘This places limits on governments and reduces the likelihood of tyranny and despotism.’
    • ‘They smack of totalitarian despotism, and their quaint claim for absolute certainty seems anachronistic in this postmodern age of relativism and deconstruction.’
    • ‘The best way to do this is to actively encourage its sponsoring regimes towards democracy and away from the tyranny and despotism that breeds it.’
    • ‘The German law is wider, as it refers to persecution under National Socialism or any other form of despotism or tyranny.’
    • ‘America was born in a revolution against Western imperialism, born as a haven of freedom against the tyrannies and despotism, the wars and intrigues of the old world.’
    • ‘Cultural sovereigns in their own right, Ovid and Dante, despite official exile from their native home, had made their poetic stand against tyranny and despotism.’
    tyranny, dictatorship, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, absolute rule, absolutism
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A country or political system where the ruler holds absolute power.
      ‘some nations are democracies, others are despotisms’
      • ‘Machiavelli relied heavily on the dichotomy between republican and princely government, Montesquieu on a trichotomy of republics, monarchies, and despotisms.’
      • ‘Russia closely resembled the ancient Oriental despotisms such as those in Mesopotamia and pharaonic Egypt, where the rulers were the exclusive owners of all that lay within their domain.’
      • ‘Of course, history has been replete with despotisms and petty dictatorships.’
      • ‘In the modern world it is only despotisms which have recourse to the firing squad or the noose.’
      • ‘As in so much else, the French revolutionary regime was the precursor of the centralized, totalitarian, managerial, pseudo-democratic despotisms that now reign over the West.’
      • ‘This was because refugees and terrorists were widely regarded as freedom fighters, against Continental despotisms.’
      • ‘The Temple elite did what it took to see that a political charge was made against him and Rome, alive to politics, not theology, did what despotisms do best.’
      • ‘Inside the UN, a bloody despotism is every inch the equal of a liberal democracy.’
      • ‘As the poet Walt Whitman once wrote, ‘A democracy may rule as outrageously as a despotism.’’
      • ‘While the existence of dissident voices should never be ignored, the French monarchy was nevertheless viewed by the majority of its subjects not as a despotism, but as a government tempered by the laws.’
      • ‘Stalin's paranoid nature turned the regime into a dangerous despotism.’
      • ‘He also charged that ‘the men in power are attempting to establish a despotism in this country, more cruel and more oppressive than ever existed before.’’
      • ‘In other words, the United States, to satisfy the State Department and certain of our so-called allies in the region, must be complicit in the creation of a new despotism.’
      • ‘Russia was a despotism and there's a difference; Britain wasn't, and hadn't been for a long, long time and was never going to be again, and finally that made all the difference.’
      • ‘Not only was their empire a military despotism, it was also peculiarly distrustful of any form of self-help, much less self-government, on the part of its subjects.’
      • ‘They typically sealed their victory by unseating kings, although often creating a new despotism.’
      • ‘Unless appropriate checks and balances are constructed, we'll inevitably end up with a malign despotism.’
      • ‘Hardly - like DPF, I think that it was a murderous totalitarian despotism whose passing should not be mourned for an instant.’

Origin

Early 18th century from French despotisme, from despote (see despot).

Pronunciation

despotism

/ˈdɛspətɪz(ə)m/