from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A ruler with absolute power.
- n. A person who wields power oppressively; a tyrant.
- n. A Byzantine emperor or prince.
- n. An Eastern Orthodox bishop or patriarch.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A ruler with absolute power; a tyrant.
- n. A title awarded to senior members of the imperial family in the late Byzantine Empire, and claimed by various independent or semi-autonomous rulers in the Balkans (12th to 15th centuries)
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A master; a lord; especially, an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign.
- n. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An absolute ruler; one who governs according to his own will, under a recognized right or custom, but uncontrolled by constitutional restrictions or the wishes of his subjects; a sovereign who is himself theoretically the source of all law.
- n. A tyrant; an oppressor; one who or a body which exercises lawful power tyrannically or oppressively, as either sovereign or master.
- n. An honorary title of the Byzantine emperors, afterward of members of their families, and then conferred as a title of office on vassal rulers and governors: as, the despots of Epirus.
- n. Synonyms Autocrat, dictator.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a cruel and oppressive dictator
French despote, from Medieval Latin despota, from Greek despotēs, master; see dem- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin despota, from Ancient Greek δεσπότης (despótēs, "lord, master, owner"), from the Proto-Indo-European phrase *déms pótis (“master of the house”). (Wiktionary)