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[aw-tok-ruh-see] /ɔˈtɒk rə si/
noun, plural autocracies.
government in which one person has uncontrolled or unlimited authority over others; the government or power of an absolute monarch.
a nation, state, or community ruled by an autocrat.
unlimited authority, power, or influence of one person in any group.
1645-55; < Greek autokráteia power over oneself, sole power, equivalent to autokrat(ḗs) autocrat + -eia -ia; see -cracy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for autocracy
  • One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks.
  • There was autocracy in political life, and it was superseded by democracy.
  • Otherwise, institutions tend over time to atrophy and give way to autocracy.
  • They are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy.
  • But the troubled new nation soon fell into chaos and autocracy.
  • They see that autocracy, incompetence and corruption need not be a way of life.
  • Decades of one-party autocracy have stunted its politics.
  • In the primary phase of the development, autocracy works better.
  • That's neither diplomacy or democracy, simply autocracy.
  • It is a heady, exciting feeling after an era of autocracy.
British Dictionary definitions for autocracy


noun (pl) -cies
government by an individual with unrestricted authority
the unrestricted authority of such an individual
a country, society, etc, ruled by an autocrat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for autocracy

1650s, "independent power, self-sustained power," from French autocratie, from Greek autokrateia "ruling by oneself," noun of state from autokrates (see autocrat). Meaning "absolute government, supreme political power" is recorded from 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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autocracy in Culture
autocracy [(aw-tok-ruh-see)]

A system of government in which supreme political power is held by one person. (Compare constitutional monarchy, democracy, and oligarchy.)

Note: Iraq under Saddam Hussein is an autocracy.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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