• WordNet 3.6
    • n tyrant a cruel and oppressive dictator
    • n tyrant any person who exercises power in a cruel way "his father was a tyrant"
    • n tyrant in ancient Greece, a ruler who had seized power without legal right to it
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Tyrant An absolute ruler; a sovereign unrestrained by law or constitution; a usurper of sovereignty.
    • Tyrant (Zoöl) Any one of numerous species of American clamatorial birds belonging to the family Tyrannidæ; -- called also tyrant bird.
    • Tyrant Specifically, a monarch, or other ruler or master, who uses power to oppress his subjects; a person who exercises unlawful authority, or lawful authority in an unlawful manner; one who by taxation, injustice, or cruel punishment, or the demand of unreasonable services, imposes burdens and hardships on those under his control, which law and humanity do not authorize, or which the purposes of government do not require; a cruel master; an oppressor. "This false tyrant , this Nero.""Love, to a yielding heart, is a king, but to a resisting, is a tyrant ."
    • v. i Tyrant To act like a tyrant; to play the tyrant; be to tyrannical.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n tyrant In ancient Greece, an irresponsible chief or magistrate with unlimited powers, owing his office primarily to insurrection or usurpation. The first tyrants, so called, were generally the leaders of risings against the oligarchies during the seventh and sixth centuries b. c. They ruled with the popular consent in nearly all the Greek states and colonies at one time or another, transmitting their power to their heirs until democracies or new oligarchies overthrew them. Others raised themselves to the position by direct conquest or conspiracy. The arbitrary government of the tyrants was sometimes beneficent, but more often extremely oppressive and cruel. The typical tyrant in the latter sense of the word was Dionysius the Elder, of Syracuse (405–367 b. c.).
    • n tyrant Hence A wilfully arbitrary monarch or person in authority; a ruler or master who uses his power cruelly or oppressively; any person who treats those bound to him in any way as slaves to his will; an autocratic oppressor.
    • n tyrant A tyrannical or compulsory influence; something that constrains the will inexorably; an overruling power.
    • n tyrant In ornithology, a tyrant-flycatcher; one of the Tyrannidæ.
    • tyrant To tyrannize over.
    • tyrant To play the tyrant; tyrannize: sometimes with indefinite it.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Tyrant tī′rant one who uses his power arbitrarily and oppressively:
    • v.t Tyrant to tyrannise over
    • v.t Tyrant to play the tyrant over
    • v.t Tyrant to act the tyrant to
    • n Tyrant tī′rant (orig.) an absolute monarch or irresponsible magistrate with unlimited powers or an overruling influence
    • ***


  • Francois De La Rochefoucauld
    “Old age is a tyrant, who forbids, under pain of death, the pleasures of youth.”
  • Marquis De Sade
    “One weeps not save when one is afraid, and that is why kings are tyrants.”
  • Proverb
    “Custom is a tyrant.”
  • Ambrose Bierce
    “Destiny. A tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure.”
  • Mahatma Gandhi
    “The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.”
  • William Ellery Channing
    “The worst tyrants are those which establish themselves in our own breasts.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. tirant, tiraunt, tyraunt, OF. tiran, tirant,probably from confusion with the p. pr. of verbs), F. tyran, L. tyrannus, Gr. ty`rannos, originally, an absolute sovereign, but afterwards, a severe or cruel ruler
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. tirant (Fr. tyran)—L. tyrannns—Gr. tyrannos (Doric koiranos).


In literature:

The murdered Puho had another son, Antonio, who escaped and took refuge with Giorgio Benzone, the tyrant of Crema.
"Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete" by John Symonds
So may a tyrant's heart be buried deep!
"The Poetical Works of William Lisle Bowles, Vol. 1" by William Lisle Bowles
Oh, my brother, what can these foul tyrants know of either!
"Alroy The Prince Of The Captivity" by Benjamin Disraeli
The most cruel tyrant the northern lands ever knew was Christian II.
"Historical Tales, Vol. 9 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
That tyrant himself is said to have been the author of this conflagration.
"Roman Antiquities, and Ancient Mythology" by Charles K. Dillaway
Yet these people are the tyrants of Europe.
"Short Studies on Great Subjects" by James Anthony Froude
Caesar himself was interested in poetry and the arts, just as were all the cultivated men and tyrants of the Renaissance.
"Lucretia Borgia" by Ferdinand Gregorovius
Everywhere it is a godless tyrant.
"Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women" by George Sumner Weaver
This tyrant roused the old spirit of the people which had asserted its independence in former days.
"Heroes of Modern Europe" by Alice Birkhead
None can say he is a tyrant, because he has no means of tyrannizing.
"For the Temple" by G. A. Henty

In poetry:

First Jew.
Belshazzar's dead!
Then, Judah, thou art free! The tyrant's fall'n!
Jerusalem, Jerusalem is free!
"Belshazzar. A Sacred Drama" by Hannah More
Why flatter thyself, Tyrant,
In ways great in evil?
The Lord's goodness ceases not
Keeping watch on the pious.
"Song II" by Mikolaj Sep Szarzynski
And if soft pity's tearful eye
A Tyrant's heart can move;
Ill-fated LEWIN yet may live
To clasp her vanquish'd Love.
"Lewin and Gynneth" by Mary Darby Robinson

Praise we the Lord! His wrath arose,
His arm our fetters broke;
The tyrant dropped the lash, and we
To liberty awoke!
"Emancipation Hymn" by Anonymous Americas
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
Lo! the tyrant's waning power,
Darkly o'er us still doth lower;
Chains and slavery!
"Address To Washingtonians" by John Pierpont
Proud tyrants shall no more oppress,
No more despise the just;
And mighty sinners shall confess
They are but earth and dust.
"Psalm 10" by Isaac Watts

In news:

Tame Tyrant A review of The Dictator.
Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant.
The Tea House's Tiny Tyrants.
Thus Always to Tyrants buy it.
A tyrant rises in 'Richard III'.
Most people flash to a picture of a demanding, screaming, critical, oppressive tyrant .
From the Q&A: Rob Zwink of Great Tyrant music service edition.
As with all tyrants , Jobs made the absurd seem routine.
Wisconsin Actually Likes 'the Tyrant -y, Union-Cutting Guy'.
Tavi's Turn & MJ's Twitter Tyrant .
Readers' viewpoints: Why our government is a tyrant .
One tyrant returns home, one flees.
Braugher maps 'Last Resort' journey to tyrant .
Obama The Tyrant Must Be Stopped.
'Britain is funding Africa's next tyrant '.

In science:

An early example of optimization problem is narrated in Virgil’s Aeneid: Dido, a Phenician princess, is obliged to flee Tyre, her hometown, after her husband is murdered by her brother, a cruel tyrant.
Theoretical analysis of optimization problems - Some properties of random k-SAT and k-XORSAT
Diogenes Laertius describes him as the very courageous man: “He, wishing to put an end to the power of Nearches, the tyrant (some, however, call the tyrant Diomedon), was arrested, as we are informed by Heraclides, in his abridgment of Satyrus.
Zeno meets modern science
And when he was examined, as to his accomplices, and as to the arms which he was taking to Lipara, he named all the friends of the tyrant as his accomplices, wishing to make him feel himself alone.
Zeno meets modern science
And then, after he had mentioned some names, he said that he wished to whisper something privately to the tyrant; and when he came near him he bit him, and would not leave his hold till he was stabbed.
Zeno meets modern science
And the same thing happened to Aristogiton, the tyrant slayer.
Zeno meets modern science