of or pertaining to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.
exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another or of others:
an authoritarian parent.
a person who favors or acts according to authoritarian principles.
1879 (adj.), "favoring imposed order over freedom," from authority. Cf. authoritative, which originally had this meaning to itself. Noun in the sense of one advocating or practicing such governance is from 1883. Related: Authoritarianism (1909).