authoritarian, authoritative
These two words should be carefully distinguished as their implications are quite different. Authoritarian is generally used of people or their actions and has the unfavourable meaning ‘favouring or encouraging strict obedience to authority’ (with overtones of excess); typical collocates include regime, ruler, government, personality, and leadership. Authoritative is generally used of things that people say or write, or the manner of their saying them (voice is a common collocate), and has the favourable meaning ‘recognized as true or dependable’. Examples: (authoritarian)

• The West was happy to bolster authoritarian governments that were not controlled by the Soviet Union to prevent them from turning communist —Foreign Affairs Magazine, 2004

• (authoritative) He was cool, authoritative, and well spoken

• a very authoritative article which looks at whether the Queen or the Governor General is Australia's head of State —J. Ray, 2003.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • authoritarian — authoritarian, authoritarianism See authoritarian personality …   Dictionary of sociology

  • authoritarian — [adj] domineering absolute, authoritative, autocratic, despotic, dictatorial, disciplinarian, doctrinaire, dogmatic, harsh, imperious, magisterial, rigid, severe, strict, totalitarian, tyrannical, unyielding; concepts 319,401 Ant. democratic,… …   New thesaurus

  • authoritarian — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority. ► NOUN ▪ an authoritarian person. DERIVATIVES authoritarianism noun …   English terms dictionary

  • authoritarian — index dictatorial, dogmatic, ex officio, strict Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • authoritarian — (adj.) 1862, favoring imposed order over freedom, from AUTHORITY (Cf. authority). Cf. AUTHORITATIVE (Cf. authoritative), which originally had this meaning to itself. Noun in the sense of one advocating or practicing such governance is from 1859 …   Etymology dictionary

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