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

  • adjective Of or relating to a tyrant or tyranny.
  • adjective Characteristic of a tyrant or tyranny; despotic and oppressive: synonym: dictatorial.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having the character of a tyrant; acting like a tyrant; despotic in rule or procedure; arbitrary; imperious; as, a tyrannical master.
  • Pertaining to or characteristic of a tyrant; unjustly severe in operation; oppressive: as, a tyrannical government; tyrannical actions.
  • Synonyms Domineering, severe, oppressive, galling, grinding. See despotism.

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

  • adjective not comparable Of, or relating to tyranny or a tyrant.
  • adjective comparable Despotic, oppressive or authoritarian.

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

  • adjective characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule; having absolute sovereignty
  • adjective marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • They make it a text and pretext for inveighing against the government, and so weakening its hold on the popular confidence and support; for raising seditious outcries against any restriction of the license to talk and print treason -- what they call tyrannical oppression of the freedom of speech and of the press.

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2 No 4, October, 1862 Devoted To Literature And National Policy Various

  • During the second dogwatch, that same evening, Wilde sought out the boatswain and carpenter, and complained to them of what he termed my tyrannical conduct, which, he represented to his two listeners, was of so grossly humiliating a character that it was calculated very seriously to detract from his influence with his followers.

    Overdue The Story of a Missing Ship Harry Collingwood 1886

  • He added that Israel's democracy was a unique model that has surpassed many of what he described as the tyrannical, totalitarian Arab regimes.

    Elder of Ziyon 2009

  • "I paid a price, but the Singaporean government has paid a bigger price," he said, adding that his case has shed more light on what he called a tyrannical government.

    Singabloodypore 2008

  • Lucy's spirit, however, was high, and, although unaided and alone, she could have borne much: she could have endured the repinings of her father; his murmurs against what he called the tyrannical usage of the ruling party; his ceaseless charges of ingratitude against Ravenswood; his endless lectures on the various means by which contracts may be voided an annulled; his quotations from the civil, municipal, and the canon law; and his prelections upon the patria potestas.

    The Bride of Lammermoor Walter Scott 1801

  • But if there were lower magistrates who had lawful authority to restrain tyrannical kings, then go for it.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Thoughts on the Revolution (?) in Kyrgyzstan 2010

  • Chief among their common goals is that the three-man municipality they call tyrannical and inefficient must go and be replaced by

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1992

  • 1838 GMT: Libya's ambassador to Lisbon becomes the latest high-ranking official to quit the government, condemning what he called a "tyrannical" regime

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion 2011

  • Something that incorporates 1/6th of the economy – in this case Health Care, along with abortion, illegal aliens, elderly Logun's Run death panels, and privacy issues for all Americans should not be rushed through our most liberal Congress, a government which is acting more Orwellian everyday and has the possibility of becoming tyrannical, which is why the Press should be watchdogs instead of lapdogs for Obama.

    Obama adviser: Protesters wrong about health-care reform 2009

  • They map the rise of what key figures on the right and left refer to as tyrannical rule by the Bush - Cheney administration.

    Michael Collins: Election Fraud and Tyranny: Part 1 2008


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