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dictator

Meaning: an authoritarian leader who abuses political and human rights

For example:

  • He might have been democratically elected, but he's still a dictator.

  • We call any leader who refuses to support our national interests a dictator, even if he isn't.

Note: The word "dictator" is a dysphemism when used instead of a neutral word like "president" to make a leader seem worse than he or she really is. It's often used in this way when countries with opposing national interests are engaged in a "war of words". Other words used in this way include "tyrant", "despot" and "autocrat", and more general words like "monster", "brute" and "murderer" are also often used.

Quick Quiz:

"Dictator" is often used as a dysphemism when countries are

a. at peace

b. in conflict

c. under control

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Contributor: Matt Errey