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despotism

[des-puh-tiz-uh m] /ˈdɛs pəˌtɪz əm/
noun
1.
the rule of a despot; the exercise of absolute authority.
2.
absolute power or control; tyranny.
3.
an absolute or autocratic government.
4.
a country ruled by a despot.
Origin
1720-1730
1720-30; < French despotisme. See despot, -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for despotisms

despotism

/ˈdɛspəˌtɪzəm/
noun
1.
the rule of a despot; arbitrary, absolute, or tyrannical government
2.
arbitrary or tyrannical authority or behaviour
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 despotisms

despotism

n.

mid-18c., from French despotisme; see despot + -ism.

All education is despotism. [William Godwin, "Enquirer," 1797]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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despotisms in Culture
despotism [(des-puh-tiz-uhm)]

Unlimited political rule by one person.

Note: The term usually suggests unscrupulous rule, or tyranny.
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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