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[toh-tal-i-tair-ee-uh n] /toʊˌtæl ɪˈtɛər i ən/
of or relating to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.
exercising control over the freedom, will, or thought of others; authoritarian; autocratic.
an adherent of totalitarianism.
Origin of totalitarian
1925-30; totalit(y) + -arian
Related forms
antitotalitarian, adjective
nontotalitarian, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for totalitarian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The legal system in these countries is biased against the individual, antiquated and totalitarian.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • Convince her its governments were evil, totalitarian, when in reality they were democratic?

    A World Called Crimson Darius John Granger
  • This totalitarian trading system insures that foreign trade serves the purposes of the state.

    East-West Trade Trends Harold E. Stassen
  • Modern China faces more than political problems; a totalitarian revolution has engulfed it.

    Government in Republican China Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
  • The totalitarian era is passing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an ancient, lifeless tree.

British Dictionary definitions for totalitarian


of, denoting, relating to, or characteristic of a dictatorial one-party state that regulates every realm of life
a person who advocates or practises totalitarian policies
Derived Forms
totalitarianism, noun
Word Origin
from totality + -arian
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 totalitarian

1926, first in reference to Italian fascism, formed in English on model of Italian totalitario "complete, absolute, totalitarian," from the Italian cognate of English total (adj.). The noun is recorded from 1938.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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