• WordNet 3.6
    • n despotism a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)
    • n despotism dominance through threat of punishment and violence
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Despotism A government which is directed by a despot; a despotic monarchy; absolutism; autocracy. "Despotism . . . is the only form of government which may with safety to itself neglect the education of its infant poor."
    • Despotism The power, spirit, or principles of a despot; absolute control over others; tyrannical sway; tyranny. "The despotism of vice."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n despotism Absolute power; authority unlimited and uncontrolled by constitutional restrictions, and depending only on the will of the prince: as, the despotism of Louis XIV.
    • n despotism An arbitrary government; the rule of a despot; absolutism; autocracy.
    • n despotism Figuratively, absolute power or controlling influence.
    • n despotism Synonyms Despotism, Tyranny, Autocracy, Absolutism. All these words imply absolute power. Tyranny is the abuse of absolute power, legal or usurped, and implies oppression. Despotism, in its earlier and still frequent meaning, does not necessarily imply either regard or disregard for the welfare of the subject; but there is also a tendency to give it essentially the same meaning as tyranny, using absolutism or autocracy where an unfavorable meaning is not intended. See oppression.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Despotism absolute power: tyranny
    • ***


  • Mary Mccarthy
    “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.”
  • Michel Foucault
    “Freedom of conscience entails more dangers than authority and despotism.”
  • John Stuart Mill
    “The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.”
  • Walter Bagehot
    “So long as war is the main business of nations, temporary despotism -- despotism during the campaign -- is indispensable.”
  • Oscar Wilde
    “Despotism is unjust to everybody, including the despot, who was probably made for better things.”
  • Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Bakunin
    “Idealism is the despot of thought, just as politics is the despot of will.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. F. despotisme,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. despot—Low L. despotus—Gr. despotēs, a master.


In literature:

You and I might try forever to establish such absolute despotism, all in vain.
"Sea and Shore" by Mrs. Catharine A. Warfield
Sir, whilst we hold this happy course, we drew more from the colonies than all the impotent violence of despotism ever could extort from them.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. II. (of 12)" by Edmund Burke
These doomed minions of despotism were pursued with fury energized by despair.
"The Empire of Russia" by John S. C. Abbott
Whoever rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism.
"American Eloquence, Volume IV. (of 4) Studies In American Political History (1897)" by Various
France and Spain submitted to a despotism, by right of which the king could say, 'L'Etat c'est moi.
"Renaissance in Italy, Volume 1 (of 7)" by John Addington Symonds
In the last age we were in danger of being entangled by the example of France in the net of a relentless despotism.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. III. (of 12)" by Edmund Burke
Is Caesar to be saviour or despot?
"A Friend of Caesar" by William Stearns Davis
Your despots govern by terror.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IV. (of 12)" by Edmund Burke
The despotism will find despotic means of supply.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. V. (of 12)" by Edmund Burke
Could any Sultan, or even the "Oriental Despot" of a radical penny-a-liner, be implored in more abject terms?
"The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 78, April, 1864" by Various

In poetry:

Flag of the truly free,
Despots before thee flee,
Victims of tyranny hail thee with pride;
Emblem of liberty
Thou shalt forever be:
Happy the land where her children abide!
"National Song" by Alfred Gibbs Campbell
The world of politics abroad he scanned
With eagle glance, that would not quail or pause;
Woe to the despot! whose unholy hand
Had touched the ark of British rights and laws.
"Elegiac Verses On The Death of Lord Palmerston" by Janet Hamilton
You, wretches, every drop of blood
Which stains the innocent snow,
Will rise into a mighty flood,
It will wash the land and clean the mud
Of your despotic rule - the people's foe!"
"Johannes" by Hristo Smirnenski
The demon steed of dark despotic power
He curbed and reined with might and matchless skill;
When o'er our isle the tempest seemed to lower,
The brooding clouds were scattered at his will.
"Elegiac Verses On The Death of Lord Palmerston" by Janet Hamilton
Thou hadst a place unique, sublime;
In many a land beyond the sea
The victims of despotic crime
In thee, the latest born of Time,
Beheld a land from tyrants free,
The sacred Ark of Liberty.
"Fallen" by John Lawson Stoddard
But now despotic o'er the plains
The awful noon of beauty reigns,
And kneeling crowds adore;
These charms arise too fiercely bright,
Danger and death attend the fight,
And I must hope no more.
"Songs" by Anna Laetitia Aikin Barbauld

In news:

Despotism in New London.
The US Constitution, properly construed by a vigilant Supreme Court, prevents untrammeled power, which is the definition of despotism .
Why let only one despot endow and name a new prize when so many others deserve acclaim.
El-P, Killer Mike, Mr Mf'n eXquire , and Despot.
Despot, Mr MF'n eXquire , Killer Mike, El-P. KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters.
Despot, Mr MF'n Exquire , Killer Mike and El-P crowd into the KEXP studio and trade the mic for a formidable set of thumping, infectious singles live on Street Sounds.
IN 1824, Ferdinand VII, lately freed from prison with French help and returned to the Spanish throne, was a vengeful despot.
America was founded as a country where no citizen would ever have to submit to the will of a king, or any other brand of despot.
KAZAKHSTAN'S vast oil reserves and proximity to Afghanistan have made it a crucial ally in the past decade, but few observers have any illusions about its corrupt, despotic ruler.
The Despotism of Natural Law .
Police have broken up a protest aimed at highlighting oppression of Cambodia's people by political figures including former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the late despot Pol Pot.
The US Constitution, properly construed by a vigilant Supreme Court, prevents untrammeled power, which is the definition of despotism.
The oppression of Cambodia 's people by political the late despot Pol Pot.
On the ethics of helping a despotic government.
Serge tells of his upbringing among exiles and conspirators, of his involvement with the notorious Bonnot Gang and his years in prison, of his role in the Russian Revolution , and of the Revolution 's collapse into despotism and terror.

In science:

Chinese history is characterised by repeated transitions from despotism to anarchy and back .
Generalized models as a universal approach to the analysis of nonlinear dynamical systems
The period 285–395 AD forms part of what is known as the Dominate, the despotic later phase of the empire.
Empirical likelihood-based tests for stochastic ordering
The social contract is a basic of all civilization. On the most extensive meaning, Montesquieu proposed that any law is a necessity relation. This is an expansion of the natural law. According to Montesquieu s principle, political system classifies democracy, monarchy and despotism.
Synergetic Application, Equations on Rule of Law and Two-Party Mechanism