Definitions

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

  • noun An extremely oppressive, unjust, or cruel ruler.
  • noun An absolute ruler who governs without restrictions, especially one who seized power illegally.
  • noun An oppressive, harsh, arbitrary person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To tyrannize over.
  • To play the tyrant; tyrannize: sometimes with indefinite it.
  • noun In ancient Greece, an irresponsible chief or magistrate with unlimited powers, owing his office primarily to insurrection or usurpation.
  • noun Hence A wilfully arbitrary monarch or person in authority; a ruler or master who uses his power cruelly or oppressively; any person who treats those bound to him in any way as slaves to his will; an autocratic oppressor.
  • noun A tyrannical or compulsory influence; something that constrains the will inexorably; an overruling power.
  • noun In ornithology, a tyrant-flycatcher; one of the Tyrannidæ.

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

  • intransitive verb obsolete To act like a tyrant; to play the tyrant; be to tyrannical.
  • noun An absolute ruler; a sovereign unrestrained by law or constitution; a usurper of sovereignty.
  • noun Specifically, a monarch, or other ruler or master, who uses power to oppress his subjects; a person who exercises unlawful authority, or lawful authority in an unlawful manner; one who by taxation, injustice, or cruel punishment, or the demand of unreasonable services, imposes burdens and hardships on those under his control, which law and humanity do not authorize, or which the purposes of government do not require; a cruel master; an oppressor.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of American clamatorial birds belonging to the family Tyrannidæ; -- called also tyrant bird.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of numerous species of tyrants which have a flattened bill, toothed at the tip, and resemble the true flycatchers in habits. The Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax Acadicus) and the vermilion flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubineus) are examples.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of numerous species of American tyrants of the genus Tyrannus having a strong toothed bill and resembling the shrikes in habits. The kingbird is an example.

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

  • noun An absolute ruler who governs without restriction.
  • noun A harsh and cruel ruler.
  • noun An oppressive, cruel and harsh person.
  • verb obsolete To act like a tyrant; to be tyrannical.

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

  • noun any person who exercises power in a cruel way
  • noun in ancient Greece, a ruler who had seized power without legal right to it
  • noun a cruel and oppressive dictator

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, alteration of tyran, from Latin tyrannus, from Greek turannos.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French tirant (French tyran), from Latin tyrannus, from Ancient Greek τύραννος (turannos, "lord, master, sovereign, tyrant").

Examples

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