“Tyranny, broadly defined, is the use of power to dehumanize the individual and delegitimize his nature. Political utopianism is tyranny disguised as a desirable, workable, and even paradisiacal governing ideology. There are, of course, unlimited utopian constructs, for the mind is capable of infinite fantasies. But there are common themes. The fantasies take the form of grand social plans or experiments, the impracticability and impossibility of which, in small ways and large, leads to the individual’s subjugation”.

From Ameritopia: the Unmaking of America by Mark Levin.

“Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead. These procedures are known as the Rule of Law”. – Edward Abbey



noun \ˈtir-ə-nē\

plural tyr·an·nies

Definition of TYRANNY

: oppressive power <every form of tyranny over the mind of man — Thomas Jefferson>; especially : oppressive power exerted by government <the tyranny of a police state>

a : a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially :one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state

b : the office, authority, and administration of a tyrant

: a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force <living under the tyranny of the clock — Dixon Wecter>
: an oppressive, harsh, or unjust act : a tyrannical act <workers who had suffered tyrannies>

Examples of TYRANNY

  1. The refugees were fleeing tyranny.
  2. He was dedicated to ending the tyranny of slavery.
  3. a nation ruled by tyranny
  4. She felt lost in the bureaucratic tyrannies of the university system.
  5. The king sought an absolute tyranny over the colonies.
  6. Cars freed Americans, already infamous for their mobility, from the tyranny of train schedules. —Cynthia Crossen, Wall Street Journal, 7 May 2003
  7. Berlin remains a central attraction, and the evanescence of tyranny is a highlight of the visit. —William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review, 27 Sept. 1999
  8. For in creating a cultural orthodoxy designed to combat racism, urban disorder, and a legacy of oppression, we subject ourselves to delusional dogma, the tyranny of conformity, and language that rings of fascist imagery. —Gerald Early, Harper’s, January 1997

Origin of TYRANNY

Middle English tyrannie, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin tyrannia, from Latin tyrannustyrant

First Known Use: 14th century

Related to TYRANNY

Synonyms: absolutism, autarchy, authoritarianism, autocracy, Caesarism, czarism (also tsarism or tzarism), dictatorship, totalism, totalitarianism, despotism
Related Words: monarchism, monarchy, monocracy; Big Brother, Big Brotherism, Communism, fascism, Nazism; domination, oppression
Near Antonyms: democracy, self-governance, self-government, self-rule; freedom, self-determination; autonomy, sovereignty (also sovranty)

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism


You might also see Characteristics of a Tyranny

You might also like Bureaucrats

Michael Patrick McCarty

Food Freedom!, and Guns Too.

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A Journal of Honest Food, Freedom, and The Natural World