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From Middle English tirannye, borrowed from Old French tyrannie, from Medieval Latin tyrannia, tyrania, from Ancient Greek τυραννία (turannía, tyranny), from τύραννος (túrannos, lord, master, sovereign, tyrant).


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɪɹəni/
  • Rhymes: -ɹəni
  • (file)


tyranny (countable and uncountable, plural tyrannies)

  1. A government in which a single ruler (a tyrant) has absolute power; this system of government.
  2. The office or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.
  3. Absolute power, or its use.
  4. A system of government in which power is exercised on behalf of the ruler or ruling class, without regard to the wishes of the governed.
    • 2019 April 28, Hagai El-Ad, “What kind of democracy deports human rights workers?”, in Yoni Molad, transl., +972 Magazine[1]:
      Control, dispossession, violence, and tyranny are not “defensive”: they are part of an organized, ongoing aggression.
  5. Extreme severity or rigour.


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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

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Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of tirannye