tin-pot dictator

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From tin-pot, a cheap metal disposable container, and dictator

Noun[edit]

tin-pot dictator (plural tin-pot dictators)

  1. An autocratic ruler with little political credibility, but with self-delusions of grandeur.

Usage notes[edit]

Although still used today, this is a pejorative term coined in the days of the colonial British Empire, and referred to the Victorian innovation of the tin-pot, a very cheap metal container, the forerunner of the modern tin can.