- The definition of a despot is a ruler who has absolute power, especially when the ruler is cruel in his exercise of power.
An example of a despot is an evil dictator.
- Archaic a title meaning “master,” applied to certain classes of rulers, as Byzantine emperors or bishops of the Greek church
- an absolute ruler; king with unlimited powers; autocrat
- anyone in charge who acts like a tyrant
Origin: Old French despote ; from Classical Greek despotēs, a master, lord ; from Indo-European an unverified form dems-potis, literally , house master ; from an unverified form dem-, house (from source timber, Classical Latin domus) plush an unverified form potis, master, husband (from source Classical Latin potis, potent, Gothic -faths, husband)
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- A ruler with absolute power.
- A person who wields power oppressively; a tyrant.
- a. A Byzantine emperor or prince.b. An Eastern Orthodox bishop or patriarch.
Origin: French despote, from Medieval Latin despota, from Greek despotēs, master; see dem- in Indo-European roots.
- des·potˈic adjective
- des·potˈi·cal·ly adverb