This page is about the dysphemism dictator


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.

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
a) at peace b) in conflict c) under control

Contributor: Matt Errey

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