Definitions

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

  • noun Unjust or oppressive governmental power.
  • noun A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power.
  • noun The office, authority, or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.
  • noun The oppressive or unjust use of power.
  • noun A tyrannical act.
  • noun An oppressive or harshly limiting condition.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The rule of a tyrant in the ancient sense; the personal government of one of the Greek tyrants; a state or government having an uncontrolled ruler bearing the title of tyrant.
  • noun The office or incumbency of a tyrant; a tyrant's administration or tenure; the system of government by tyrants.
  • noun Hence A tyrannical government; a lawless autocracy or despotism.
  • noun Arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of anthority; unmerciful rule.
  • noun A tyrannical action or proceeding; an instance of despotic rule or conduct.
  • noun Severity; harshness; stringency.
  • noun Synonyms Despotism, Autocracy, etc. See despotism.
  • noun Oppression, Despotism, etc. See oppression.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The government or authority of a tyrant; a country governed by an absolute ruler; hence, arbitrary or despotic exercise of power; exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice, or not requisite for the purposes of government.
  • noun Cruel government or discipline.
  • noun Severity; rigor; inclemency.

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

  • noun A government in which a single ruler (a tyrant) has absolute power.
  • noun The office or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.
  • noun Absolute power, or its use.
  • noun Extreme severity or rigour.

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

  • noun a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
  • noun dominance through threat of punishment and violence

Etymologies

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

[Middle English tyrannie, from Old French, from Late Latin tyrannia, from Greek turanniā, from turannos, tyrant.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Medieval Latin tyrannia, tyrania, from Ancient Greek τυραννία (turannia, "tyranny"), from τύραννος (turannos, "lord, master, sovereign, tyrrant").

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