1737; earlier as un-Latinized theocraty (1620s), "form of government in which God is recognized as supreme ruler and his laws form the statute book," originally of the sacerdotal government of Israel before the rise of kings, from later Greek theokratia (Josephus), literally "the rule of God," from theos "god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + kratos "a rule, regime, strength" (see -cracy). Meaning "priestly or religious body wielding political and civil power" is recorded from 1825. Related: Theocratic (1741).
updated on October 13, 2021
Dictionary entries near theocracy