Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A leader or chief, especially a military dictator.
  • noun A political boss; an overlord.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun leader
  • noun A military dictator, especially one ruling in Latin America.

Etymologies

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

[Spanish, leader, from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of Latin caput, head; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Spanish caudillo, from Late Latin capitellum, based on Latin caput, capitis "head".

Examples

  • In more institutionalized political cultures like Chile's or Mexico's, the term caudillo has become faintly derisive.

    The Return of the Caudillo

  • RN You seem to be fascinated by the charisma of the Latin American 'caudillo', leaders such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

    Red Pepper

  • With his permanent tan and slick white mane, he’s more like a kinder, gentler Latin American caudillo, who wants nothing more than to be cheered on by adoring throngs.

    Charlie Crist is the diversity candidate? NRSC FAIL - Erick’s blog - RedState

  • A classic Latin American caudillo, or strongman, Mr. Chávez has developed an emotional, direct and personal relationship with Venezuela's poor masses akin to that of a televangelist.

    Chávez Roils Venezuela With Return

  • A classic Latin American caudillo, or strongman, Mr. Chávez has developed an emotional, direct and personal relationship with Venezuela's poor masses akin to that of a televangelist.

    Chávez Roils Venezuela With Return

  • Regional "presidents and party leaders are looking over their shoulders (concerned about the) specter (they) thought they had safely interred: that of the populist demagogue, the authoritarian man on horseback known as the caudillo (strongman)" taking power.

    Paid Lying: What Passes for Major Media Journalism

  • Regional "presidents and party leaders are looking over their shoulders (concerned about the) specter (they) thought they had safely interred: that of the populist demagogue, the authoritarian man on horseback known as the caudillo (strongman)" taking power.

    Printing: Paid Lying: What Passes for Major Media Journalism

  • ("At first glance, he was just your typical Latin American caudillo," Díaz writes, "but his power was terminal in ways that few historians or writers have ever truly captured or, I would argue, imagined.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Besides, I have never been seen as a caudillo, which is fortunate, because being a caudillo must be a disgrace.

    First Ibero-American Summit Concludes

  • Regional "presidents and party leaders are looking over their shoulders (concerned about the) specter (they) thought they had safely interred: that of the populist demagogue, the authoritarian man on horseback known as the caudillo (strongman)" taking power.

    Signs of the Times

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