tyrant


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See: dictator

TYRANT, government. The chief magistrate of the state, whether legitimate or otherwise, who violates the constitution to act arbitrarily contrary to justice. Toull. tit. prel. n. 32.
     2. The term tyrant and usurper, are sometimes used as synonymous, because usurpers are almost always tyrants; usurpation is itself a tyrannical act, but properly speaking, the words usurper and tyrant convey different ideas. A king may become a tyrant, although legitimate, when he acts despotically; while a usurper may cease to be a tyrant by governing according to the dictates of justice.
     3. This term is sometimes applied to persons in authority who violate the laws and act arbitrarily towards others. Vide Despotism.

References in classic literature ?
How then does a protector begin to change into a tyrant? Clearly when he does what the man is said to do in the tale of the Arcadian temple of Lycaean Zeus.
Must he not either perish at the hands of his enemies, or from being a man become a wolf--that is, a tyrant?
After a while he is driven out, but comes back, in spite of his enemies, a tyrant full grown.
And he, the protector of whom we spoke, is to be seen, not `larding the plain' with his bulk, but himself the overthrower of many, standing up in the chariot of State with the reins in his hand, no longer protector, but tyrant absolute.
At first, in the early days of his power, he is full of smiles, and he salutes every one whom he meets;--he to be called a tyrant, who is making promises in public and also in private!
And if any of them are suspected by him of having notions of freedom, and of resistance to his authority, he will have a good pretext for destroying them by placing them at the mercy of the enemy; and for all these reasons the tyrant must be always getting up a war.
And the tyrant, if he means to rule, must get rid of them; he cannot stop while he has a friend or an enemy who is good for anything.
What a blessed creature, I said, must this tyrant be; he has put to death the others and has these for his trusted friends.
"Endeavoring!" cried the tyrant, fiercely; "what do you mean by that?
The tyrant regarded her, for some moments, in evident wonder at her audacity.
The latter seemed to have recovered, in great measure, from his intoxication, and looking fixedly but quietly into the tyrant's face, merely ejaculated:
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.