Etymology
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leader (n.)

Old English lædere "one who leads, one first or most prominent," agent noun from lædan "to guide, conduct" (see lead (v.)). Cognate with Old Frisian ledera, Dutch leider, Old High German leitari, German Leiter. As a title for the head of an authoritarian state, from 1918 (translating Führer, Duce, caudillo, etc.). Meaning "writing or statement meant to begin a discussion or debate" is late 13c.; in modern use often short for leading article (1807) "opinion piece in a British newspaper" (leader in this sense attested from 1837). The golf course leader board so called from 1970.

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authoritarian (adj.)

"favoring imposed order over freedom," 1862, from authority + -an. Compare authoritative, which originally had this meaning to itself. The noun in the sense of "one advocating or practicing the principle of authority over individual freedom" is from 1859.

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authoritarianism (n.)

"the practice, system, doctrines, etc. of authoritarians," 1883; see authoritarian + -ism. Early use was mostly in communist jargon.

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totalitarian (adj.)

1926, first in reference to Italian fascism, formed in English on model of Italian totalitario "complete, absolute, totalitarian," from total (adj.) + ending from authoritarian. The noun is recorded from 1938.

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leadership (n.)

1821, "position of a leader, command," from leader + -ship. Sense extended by late 19c. to "characteristics necessary to be a leader, capacity to lead."

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cheerleader (n.)

also cheer-leader, "performer of cheers, chants, dancing, etc. in support of a sports team," 1900, American English, from cheer (n.) + leader. Cheerleading is attested from 1906.

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heresiarch (n.)

"arch-heretic; leader in heresy," 1620s, from Church Latin haeresiarcha, from Late Greek hairesiarkhes "leader of a school;" in classical use chiefly a medical school; in ecclesiastical writers, leader of a sect or heresy (see heresy + arch-). Related: Heresiarchy.

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Duce (n.)

1923, title assumed by Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), fascist leader of Italy; Italian, literally "leader," from Latin ducem, from PIE root *deuk- "to lead."

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imam (n.)

1610s, from Arabic, literally "leader; one who precedes," from amma "to go before, precede." As a high religious title used differently by Sunni and Shiite, but also used of the leader of daily prayers in the mosque and generally for a Muslim prince or religious leader. Related: Imamate.

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authoritative (adj.)

c. 1600, "dictatorial" (a sense now restricted to authoritarian), earlier auctoritative (implied in auctoritativeli "with official approval or sanction"), from Medieval Latin auctoritativus, from Latin auctoritatem (see authority).

The meaning "having due authority, entitled to credence or obedience" is from 1650s; that of "proceeding from proper authority" is from 1809. Related: Authoritatively; authoritativeness.

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