a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly.
any person in a position of authority who exercises power oppressively or despotically.
a tyrannical or compulsory influence.
an absolute ruler, especially one in ancient Greece or Sicily.

1250–1300; Middle English tirant < Old French < Latin tyrannus < Greek týrannos

undertyrant, noun

1. despot, autocrat, dictator.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tyrant (ˈtaɪrənt)
1.  a person who governs oppressively, unjustly, and arbitrarily; despot
2.  any person who exercises authority in a tyrannical manner
3.  anything that exercises tyrannical influence
4.  (esp in ancient Greece) a ruler whose authority lacked the sanction of law or custom; usurper
[C13: from Old French tyrant, from Latin tyrannus, from Greek turannos]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "absolute ruler," from O.Fr. tyrant (12c.), from L. tyrannus "lord, master, tyrant" (cf. Sp. tirano, It. tiranno), from Gk. tyrannos "lord, master, sovereign, absolute ruler," a loan-word from a language of Asia Minor (probably Lydian); cf. Etruscan Turan "mistress, lady" (surname of Venus).
"In the exact sense, a tyrant is an individual who arrogates to himself the royal authority without having a right to it. This is how the Greeks understood the word 'tyrant': they applied it indifferently to good and bad princes whose authority was not legitimate." [Rousseau, "The Social Contract"]
The spelling with -t arose in O.Fr. by analogy with prp. endings in -ant. Fem. form tyranness is recorded from 1590 (Spenser); cf. M.L. tyrannissa (1372).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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