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Meaning: a government, esp. an authoritarian or unfriendly one

For example:

  • The regime was killing its own people, so we had to do something.

  • The president calls any government he doesn't like a "regime", even if it's democratically-elected.

Note: For advanced learners: Often used to describe an authoritarian government that's unfriendly or uncooperative. Sometimes used to describe a democratically-elected government that's unfriendly or uncooperative in order to make it sound authoritarian. Almost never used to describe a friendly and cooperative government however, no matter how authoritarian it might be. For example, the democratically-elected government of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez was nearly always called a "regime" in Western media, whereas the undemocratic, authoritarian monarchy of Saudi Arabia is almost always called a "government", and very rarely called a "regime". This is because Saudi Arabia is a cooperative ally of the West, and Venezuela wasn't.

Quick Quiz:

The government was called a "regime" by foreign leaders who

a. supported it

b. opposed it

c. visited it

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Contributor: Matt Errey