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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle French tyranniser


tyrannize (third-person singular simple present tyrannizes, present participle tyrannizing, simple past and past participle tyrannized)

  1. (transitive) To oppress (someone).
    • 1929, Edgar Wallace, “The Tyrant of the House” in The Iron Grip, London: George Newnes,[1]
      In truth he was the type of man who is spoilt by the submission of weaker people than himself. There are such men, who must either be tyrannized or be tyrants []
    • 2001, Breena Clarke, “Roots of Success” (review of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker by A’Lelia Bundles), Chicago Tribune, 18 February, 2001,[2]
      I spent the first 18 years of my life tyrannized by a red-hot hair-pressing comb. Well, maybe tyrannized is an exaggeration. But covering your ears while hot grease sizzles nearby is not a young girl's idea of a fun time.
  2. (intransitive) To rule as a tyrant.
    The prince tyrannized over his subjects.
    • 1594, Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, London: William Jones,[3]
      What? will they tyrannize vpon the Church?
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, Act IV, Scene 3,[4]
      Ah, Rome! Well, well; I made thee miserable
      What time I threw the people’s suffrages
      On him that thus doth tyrannize o’er me.
    • 1644, John Milton, Areopagitica, London, p. 24,[5]
      [] lest som should perswade ye, Lords and Commons, that these arguments of lerned mens discouragement at this your order, are meer flourishes, and not reall, I could recount what I have seen and heard in other Countries, where this kind of inquisition tyrannizes []
    • 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, London: J. Johnson, Part I, Chapter 10, p. 344,[6]
      Parental affection, indeed, in many minds, is but a pretext to tyrannize where it can be done with impunity, for only good and wise men are content with the respect that will bear discussion.