Authoritarian vs Illiberal - What's the difference?

authoritarian | illiberal |

As adjectives the difference between authoritarian and illiberal

is that authoritarian is of, or relating to, absolute obedience to an authority while illiberal is restrictive to individual choice and freedom.

As a noun authoritarian

is one who commands absolute obedience to his or her authority.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?



(en adjective)
  • Of, or relating to, absolute obedience to an authority.
  • Characterised by a tyrannical obedience to an authority; dictatorial.
  • The authoritarian government was demanding stricter laws for low-wage peasants.
  • Tending to impose one's demands upon others as if one was an authority.
  • Synonyms

    * (sense, tending to impose one's demands) commanding, imperious * (characterised by a tyrannical obedience to an authority) illiberal, oppressive * See also


    * (characterised by a tyrannical obedience to an authority) liberal

    Derived terms

    * authoritarianism * antiauthoritarian


    (en noun)
  • One who commands absolute obedience to his or her authority.
  • The dictator was an authoritarian .
  • One who follows and is excessively obedient to authority.
  • * 2006', Robert Altemeyer, ''The '''Authoritarians
  • illiberal



    (en adjective)
  • Restrictive to individual choice and freedom.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , date = 2004-12-15 , title = Illiberal Europe , author = Emanuele Ottolenghi , newspaper = (The Jerusalem Post) , issn = 0021-597X , passage = Behind Europe's commitment to liberal democracy lurks an illiberal tradition. Every time freedom has failed in Europe, it is to that tradition - of violent repression, totalitarianism, xenophobia, and intolerance - that Europeans have reverted. }}
  • * {{quote-news
  • , date = 2005-02-20 , title = The Risks in Personal Accounts , newspaper = (The Washington Post) , issn = 0190-8286 , page = B06 , url = , passage = Unless the administration compels all workers to invest in life cycle accounts — an illiberal but nonetheless sensible idea — this particular danger cannot be eliminated. }}
  • narrow-minded; bigoted
  • * {{quote-book
  • , year=1781 , author=William Robertson , title=The history of Scotland during the reigns of Queen Mary and of King James IV , volume=II , page=141 , pageurl= , passage=Accordingly, that form of Popery, which prevailed in Scotland, was of the mo?t bigotted and illiberal kind.}}
  • * {{quote-book
  • , year=1894 , author=John Marshall Barker , title=Colleges in America , chapter=The Planting of Colleges in the New World , page=29 , pageurl= , passage=While they maintained a denominational character, they were in nowise illiberal , and set up no religious test for entrance.}}
  • ungenerous, stingy
  • * {{quote-book
  • , year=1901 , author=Justin McCarthy, Justin Huntly McCarthy , title=A History of the Four Georges and of William IV , volume=IV , passage=...the final offer made on the part of the King was that the Queen should have an allowance of 52,000 pounds a year— not, one would have thought, a very illiberal allowance for the daughter of a small German prince...}}
  • * {{quote-book
  • , year=1917 , author= , title=Political Ideals , chapter=Chapter II: Capitalism and the Wage System , passage=The few who are more fortunate are rendered illiberal by their unjust privileges, and oppressive through fear of the awakening indignation of the masses. From the highest to the lowest, almost all men are absorbed in the economic struggle: the struggle to acquire what is their due or to retain what is not their due.}}


    * (all meanings) antiliberal * (restrictive to individual choice and freedom) oppressive, authoritarian


    * (restrictive to individual choice and freedom) liberal * (narrow-minded) generous, broad-minded