What does tyranny mean?

Definitions for tyranny
ˈtɪr ə nityran·ny

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word tyranny.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. dictatorship, absolutism, authoritarianism, Caesarism, despotism, monocracy, one-man rule, shogunate, Stalinism, totalitarianism, tyrannynoun

    a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)

  2. absolutism, tyranny, despotismnoun

    dominance through threat of punishment and violence


  1. tyrannynoun

    A government in which a single ruler (a tyrant) has absolute power.

  2. tyrannynoun

    The office or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.

  3. tyrannynoun

    Absolute power, or its use.

  4. tyrannynoun

    Extreme severity or rigour.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Tyrannynoun

    Etymology: tyrannis, Latin; τυραννὶς; tyrannie, Fr.

    Our grand foe,
    Who now triumphs, and, in th’ excess of joy,
    Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heav’n. John Milton.

    The cities fell often under tyrannies, which spring naturally out of popular governments. William Temple.

    Boundless intemperance
    In nature is a tyranny; it hath been
    Th’untimely emptying of the happy throne,
    And fall of many kings. William Shakespeare.

    Bleed, bleed, poor country!
    Great tyranny lay thou thy basis sure,
    For goodness dares not check thee. William Shakespeare.

    Suspicions dispose kings to tyranny, and husbands to jealousy. Francis Bacon.

    God in judgment just,
    Subjects him from without to violent lords;
    Who oft as undeservedly inthral
    His outward freedom; tyranny must be. John Milton.

    The tyranny o’ the open night’s too rough
    For nature to endure. William Shakespeare, King Lear.


  1. tyranny

    A tyrant (from Ancient Greek τύραννος (túrannos) 'absolute ruler'), in the modern English usage of the word, is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their positions by resorting to repressive means. The original Greek term meant an absolute sovereign who came to power without constitutional right, yet the word had a neutral connotation during the Archaic and early Classical periods. However, Greek philosopher Plato saw tyrannos as a negative word, and on account of the decisive influence of philosophy on politics, Plato deemed tyranny the “fourth and worst disorder of a state.” Tyrants lack “the very faculty that is the instrument of judgment”—reason. The tyrannical man is enslaved because the best part of him (reason) is enslaved, and likewise, the tyrannical state is enslaved, because it too lacks reason and order. Its negative connotations only increased, continuing into the Hellenistic period.The philosophers Plato and Aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others. The Encyclopédie defined the term as a usurper of sovereign power who makes "his subjects the victims of his passions and unjust desires, which he substitutes for laws". In the late fifth and fourth centuries BC, a new kind of tyrant, one who had the support of the military, arose – specifically in Sicily.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Tyrannynoun

    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

  2. Tyrannynoun

    cruel government or discipline; as, the tyranny of a schoolmaster

  3. Tyrannynoun

    severity; rigor; inclemency


  1. Tyranny

    Tyranny is the third album by the progressive metal group Shadow Gallery, released in 1998. It is the first concept album made by the band, and the story that commences on this album is continued in the album Room V.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of tyranny in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of tyranny in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of tyranny in a Sentence

  1. Mike Huckabee:

    I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.

  2. John Bryant:

    If you are afraid to speak against tyranny, then you are already a slave.

  3. Aldous Huxley:

    The thin and precarious crust of decency is all that separates any civilization, however impressive, from the hell of anarchy or systematic tyranny which lie in wait beneath the surface.

  4. Larry Gatlin:

    C.S. Lewis said, 'Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerelyexercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.' Dr. Fauci has told us, 'We're doing this for your own good.' Hey, I pretty much know what is for my own good. Yes, I would take all the shots, I would do all that over, but for them to mandate the kids can't go to school, or I can't go to work, or you've got to fire them, is absolutely preposterous.

  5. Hannah Arendt:

    No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.

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"tyranny." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Apr. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/tyranny>.

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    the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)
    • A. mediocrity
    • B. relocation
    • C. integrity
    • D. scrutiny

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