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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ And that would imply either anarchy or autocracy.
▪ However, many remained sceptical, remembering the Tsars pledge in 1895 in a speech to Zemstvo representative to maintain autocracy.
▪ Nevertheless, the fortress of autocracy had been breached and liberal pressure for further reform could be expected to gather momentum.
▪ Nor did they see any future in piecemeal political reform of the autocracy.
▪ The best insurance against autocracy is to diffuse power as much as possible throughout society.
▪ The policies and attitudes of the autocracy virtually ruled out the emergence of a moderate, reformist labour movement.
▪ These-spells of autocracy were once frequently longer and of indefinite duration, sometimes, indeed, extending over decades.
▪ Without proper interrogation and criticism, government leans away from democracy towards autocracy.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Autocracy \Au*toc"ra*cy\, n.; pl. Autocracies. [Gr. ?: cf. F. autocratie. See Autocrat.]

  1. Independent or self-derived power; absolute or controlling authority; supremacy.

    The divine will moves, not by the external impulse or inclination of objects, but determines itself by an absolute autocracy.

  2. Supreme, uncontrolled, unlimited authority, or right of governing in a single person, as of an autocrat.

  3. Political independence or absolute sovereignty (of a state); autonomy.

  4. (Med.) The action of the vital principle, or of the instinctive powers, toward the preservation of the individual; also, the vital principle. [In this sense, written also autocrasy.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1650s, "independent power, self-sustained power," from French autocratie, from Greek autokrateia "ruling by oneself," noun of state from autokrates (see autocrat). Meaning "absolute government, supreme political power" is recorded from 1855.


n. A form of government in which unlimited power is held by a single individual.

  1. n. a political system governed by a single individual [syn: autarchy] [ant: democracy]

  2. a political theory favoring unlimited authority by a single individual


An autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of a coup d'état or mass insurrection). Absolute monarchy and dictatorship are the main historical forms of autocracy. In very early times, the term "autocrat" was written in coins as a favorable feature of the ruler, having some connection to the concept of "lack of conflicts of interests".

Usage examples of "autocracy".

Democracy was forcing out the ancient autocracy of the Hapsburgs, education and culture were opening up to the masses so that by the time Hitler came to Vienna in 1909 there was opportunity for a penniless young man either to get a higher education or to earn a fairly decent living and, as one of a million wage earners, to live under the civilizing spell which the capital cast over its inhabitants.

Woodrow Wilson, in the exchange of notes which led to the armistice, had pressed for the abolition of the Hohenzollern militarist autocracy, and the Germans had seemingly obliged him, although reluctantly.

Acceptance of autocracy, of blind obedience to the petty tyrants who ruled as princes, became ingrained in the German mind.

Reichstag, whose members were elected by universal manhood suffrage, the German Empire was in reality a militarist autocracy ruled by the King of Prussia, who was also Emperor.

The lives he took, the indignities he inflicted upon us, the autocracy he gathered to himself and used ruthlessly.

That in practice this sort of autocracy was not the least bit Ideal but almost always degenerated to some form of ruthless dictatorship was not lost on future generations of scholars.

They realise that they are partly responsible for the sins committed by the Russian nation, even though they have been powerless heretofore to remedy these conditions in the face of an armed and organised autocracy, backed by the moral, intellectual and military force of Germany and by the money of France and England.

The Downfall of Autocracy, and Complete Victory for the Cause of Righteousness and Freedom.

The idea of three hundred thousand American Negroes crossing three thousand miles of sea to fight against autocracy of the German crown constitutes the most interesting chapter in the history of this modern crusade against an unholy cause.

At sixty-nine, at the height of his mental development, he occupies a place in the English cabinet, a place which was given him because of his great hold upon the autocracy of England.

Prussian autocracy was not and could never be our friend, is that from the very outset of the present war it has filled our unsuspecting communities and even our offices of Government with spies and set criminal intrigues everywhere afoot against our national unity and counsel, our peace within and without our industries and our commerce.

It decided to seek the path of Peace not along the lines of permitted autocracy, but of firmly and thoroughly well administered democracy.

Or shall they find the gate wide open and triumphal arches erected in every section of the country in their honor to signify that defeat of German autocracy means democratization of every section of the entire world?

Universal military education for me and mine and all other Americans is his slogan, and his aim is to recreate the America of the early Seventies, which became hardened and callous through the years by reason of resistance to the German menace of autocracy, but now removed.

Yet the Norman theory was a good foundation myth for the defenders of autocracy - supposing, as it did, that without a monarchy the Russians were incapable of governance.