theo- + -cracy, originally from Ancient Greek θεοκρατία (theokratia, “rule of (a) God”), a term coined in the 1st century by Josephus (Against Apion 2.17) in reference to the kingdom of Israel. Attested in English from the 1630s, first by John Donne in a 1631 sermon: The Jews were onely under a Theocratie, an immediate government of God.
theocracy (plural theocracies)
- Government under the control of a state-sponsored religion.
- Rule by a god.
- For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.