1. Tending to tell others what to do in an presumptuous manner.
2. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a dictator or dictatorship; autocratic.
Synonyms: dictatorial, autocratic, authoritarian, imperious, tyrannical, domineering, overbearing
These adjectives mean imposing or tending to impose one's will on others. Dictatorial and autocratic stress the highhanded, peremptory manner characteristic of a dictator or despot: ordered the staff about in her usual dictatorial manner; an autocratic teacher who was uninterested in his students' opinions.
Authoritarian implies the expectation of unquestioning obedience: the timid child of authoritarian parents.
Imperious suggests the arrogant manner of one accustomed to commanding: dismissed my opinion with an imperious gesture.
Tyrannical connotes the zealous application of absolute power: was known as a tyrannical director who intimidated everyone on the set.
Domineering and overbearing imply a tendency to assert one's will in a rude or oppressive manner: a domineering child who told the group which games they would play; an overbearing customer demanding to see the manager.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.