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[ti-ran-i-kuh l, tahy-] /tɪˈræn ɪ kəl, taɪ-/
of or characteristic of a tyrant.
unjustly cruel, harsh, or severe; arbitrary or oppressive; despotic:
a tyrannical ruler.
Also, tyrannic.
Origin of tyrannical
1530-40; < Latin tyrannic(us) (< Greek tyrannikós, equivalent to týrann(os) tyrant + -ikos -ic) + -al1
Related forms
tyrannically, adverb
tyrannicalness, noun
nontyrannic, adjective
nontyrannical, adjective
nontyrannically, adverb
nontyrannicalness, noun
pretyrannical, adjective
quasi-tyrannical, adjective
quasi-tyrannically, adverb
untyrannic, adjective
untyrannical, adjective
untyrannically, adverb
2. dictatorial; imperious, domineering. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tyrannical
  • Bush would never have allowed this tyrannical country to develop the bomb.
  • He was arrogant and influential, tyrannical and abusive.
  • Only benevolent governments can fix it by imposing tyrannical mandates to stop the people from behaving irresponsibly.
  • There is no law against being an obnoxious tyrannical boss, even though thousands of employees probably have fantasized about one.
  • To think someone's little pistol or shotgun is ample weaponry to overthrow a tyrannical government is silly.
  • Nor does the overthrow of a tyrannical order instantly make it easy to examine the past.
  • With plurality, a candidate top-ranked by a majority always wins, hence a tyrannical majority always gains power.
  • He was criticized by some colleagues and compatriots for being vain, inscrutable, tyrannical and too much the aristocrat.
  • Still a radical shake-up of a tyrannical system is already in the works.
  • In my opinion, this film was created to bring awareness to the tyrannical repression of alternative ideas.
British Dictionary definitions for tyrannical


characteristic of or relating to a tyrant or to tyranny; oppressive
Derived Forms
tyrannically, adverb
tyrannicalness, noun
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 tyrannical

1530s; see tyranny + -ical. Tyrannic was used in this sense from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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