Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An absolute ruler.
  • n. A tyrant; a despot.
  • n. An ancient Roman magistrate appointed temporarily to deal with an immediate crisis or emergency.
  • n. One who dictates: These initials are those of the dictator of the letter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Originally, a magistrate without colleague in republican ancient Rome, who held full executive authority for a term granted by the senate (legislature), typically to conduct a war
  • n. A totalitarian leader of a country, nation, or government
  • n. A tyrannical boss, or authority figure
  • n. A person who dictates text (e.g. letters to a clerk)
  • n. A ruler or Führer, the highest level of authority.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who dictates; one who prescribes rules and maxims authoritatively for the direction of others.
  • n. One invested with absolute authority; especially, a magistrate created in times of exigence and distress, and invested with unlimited power.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A person possessing unlimited powers of government; an absolute ruler.
  • n. A person invested with or exercising absolute authority of any kind; one who assumes to control or prescribe the actions of others; one who dictates.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a speaker who dictates to a secretary or a recording machine
  • n. a person who behaves in a tyrannical manner
  • n. a ruler who is unconstrained by law

Etymologies

From Latin dictātor ("a chief magistrate"), from dictō ("dictate, prescribe"), from dīcō ("say, speak"). (Wiktionary)

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