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Absolute vs Autocratic vs Arbitrary vs Despotic vs Tyrannical

Absolute, autocratic, arbitrary, despotic and tyrannical all mean exercising power or authority without restraint.

Absolute implies that one is not bound by legal constraints or the control of another. (see also: Ultimate vs Absolute vs Categorical and Pure vs Absolute vs Simple vs Sheer )

  • He ruled with absolute power.

Autocratic suggests the egotistical, self-conscious use of power or the haughty imposition of one’s own will.

  • The president resigned after 30 years of autocratic rule.

Arbitrary implies the exercise and usually the abuse of power according to one’s momentary inclination.

  • The company has been the subject of an arbitrary take-over.

Despotic implies the arbitrary and imperious exercise of absolute power or control.

  • The country was ruled by a despotic tyrant.

Tyrannical implies the abuse of absolute power and harsh or oppressive rule. (see also: Tyrannical yolk vs Tyrannical yoke )

  • In the end she left home just to escape the tyrannical rule of her mother.