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


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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.
  5. Extreme severity or rigour.


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