favoring complete obedience or subjection to as opposed to individual freedom:
authoritarian principles; authoritarian attitudes.
of or relating to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.
exercising complete or almost complete control over the will of another or of others:
an authoritarian parent.
a person who favors or acts according to authoritarian principles.
Contemporary Examples

No one can predict a revolution nor say with certainty when an authoritarian state loses its footing if not its grip.
Could the Mullahs Fall This Time? Rouzbeh Parsi, Trita Parsi December 26, 2009

Those are very tricky calculations to make in an authoritarian society like North Korea.
North Korea’s Youthful New Leader Kim Jong-Un Faces Nuclear Test Eli Lake December 19, 2011

Literature is a living demonstration that things are not going well in an authoritarian society.
The Politics of Literature: An interview with Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa Michael Moynihan October 9, 2013

Authors are sometimes not aware of what they are accomplishing in an authoritarian society.
The Politics of Literature: An interview with Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa Michael Moynihan October 9, 2013

Venezuela’s authoritarian president Hugo Chavez is a villain out of a Batman movie: buffoonish and sinister in equal measure.
Hugo’s Faustian Bargain to Win Venezuela David Frum October 8, 2012

Historical Examples

At this yielding he, being by nature an authoritarian, seemed not a little pleased.
The God of Love Justin Huntly McCarthy

These are the authoritarian or State Socialist and the individualist methods.
Anarchy Errico Malatesta

The earlier Liberalism had to deal with authoritarian government in church and state.
Liberalism L. T. Hobhouse

To assume this would be to make of the “citizen” an “authoritarian” democrat.
Anarchism and Socialism George Plechanoff

Self-hypnosis further lessens dependency for no authoritarian figure is used.
A Practical Guide to Self-Hypnosis Melvin Powers

favouring, denoting, or characterized by strict obedience to authority
favouring, denoting, or relating to government by a small elite with wide powers
despotic; dictatorial; domineering
a person who favours or practises authoritarian policies

1862, “favoring imposed order over freedom,” from authority + -an. Cf. authoritative, which originally had this meaning to itself. Noun in the sense of one advocating or practicing such governance is from 1859.


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