Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there a perfect antonym for the word "Tyranny", meaning the two words could be used in the same place in a sentence and always function correctly, but have opposite meanings...

i.e. The King ruled with tyranny. The King ruled with...

share|improve this question
4  
I think the correct word is Justice. –  patrick May 25 '11 at 14:17
1  
Justice sounds right in this context, but then the best choice for antonym of Justice isn't Tyranny. it would be Injustice of Unfairness. –  Mitch May 25 '11 at 19:15
add comment

7 Answers 7

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Depends what you are looking for. If you were meaning the type of rule the king had, the antonym would be something having to do with democracy, like:

egalitarianism

However, if you are asking about the harshness of the king's rule, then you would probably use:

clemency

share|improve this answer
    
Ah thank you, egalitarianism is what I was looking for. I needed a word which could be juxtaposed with Tyranny to make a title for a paper. "Tyranny and Egalitarianism" works nicely. –  Ratz May 25 '11 at 3:36
1  
Idiot: I'd say an egalitarian king is by definition an oxymoron. –  FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 14:25
2  
@FumbleFingers, @Third Idiot, although egalitarian king is an oxymoron, I could imagine a tyrannically egalitarian government. I can even think of at least one historical example. –  senderle May 25 '11 at 15:56
    
Egalitarian is the belief in equality of all people. No king would be egalitarian. He would be like common? –  Thursagen May 25 '11 at 21:22
add comment

benevolence (from thefreedictionary)

benevolent - intending or showing kindness; "a benevolent society"

share|improve this answer
1  
Since benevolent dictatorship is a well-establish phrase, I would say benevolence is the right adjective here. –  Peter Shor May 25 '11 at 12:29
    
@Peter Shor: That was my thinking, and I probably should have said so in the answer. Thanks for filling the gap. –  FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 14:22
add comment

Benevolence is nice (in more ways than one!) but I'm not sure it's exactly the opposite of tyranny, which has to do with (a) the scope of the tyrant's power (i.e. absolute) and (b) the tyrant's use and abuse of that power. So while a tyrant is unlikely to be benevolent, I don't feel that benevolence and tyranny are quite opposites.

What about latitude, in the sense of freedom from narrow restrictions?

share|improve this answer
add comment

try laissez faire

  –noun

1. An economic doctrine that opposes governmental regulation of or interference in commerce beyond the minimum necessary for a free-enterprise system to operate according to its own economic laws.

  1. Noninterference in the affairs of others.
share|improve this answer
1  
@pageman: You can have a laissez faire attitude or policy - but you can't rule with it, or with any derivative word-forms I know of. –  FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 14:36
    
@Fumble check the example in Wodnik: 3.(economics, politics) Practicing or representing governmental noninterference, or minimal interference, especially in economic affairs; pertaining to free-market capitalism. I think the city should take a laissez faire approach to this; getting involved would only make things worse. Libertarian/Soft Paternalism might be related to this (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_paternalism) –  Paul Amerigo Pajo May 27 '11 at 5:15
1  
@pageman: Like I said, a government can adopt a laissez faire policy in some particular area. I just don't see you can characterise the entire 'rule' as laissez faire in OP's context. –  FumbleFingers May 27 '11 at 22:52
1  
@pageman: On reflection, yes of course you can. My criticism was at the very least excessive. In some ways laissez-faire doesn't sit well with rule, but they aren't at all mutually exclusive. –  FumbleFingers May 28 '11 at 19:46
1  
@pageman: Now you've made me think about it, I will upvote yours. Usually I only vote for the one best answer, but in this case obviously I rate my own benevolence top. I really can't buy into latitude, so you can take the silver medal! –  FumbleFingers May 29 '11 at 12:34
show 3 more comments

I would say the opposite of tyrrany is anarchy -- no government at all.

share|improve this answer
    
But you can't actually rule "with anarchy". –  FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 14:30
    
Indeed. Anarchy is a complete and utter failure to rule. –  Ernest Friedman-Hill May 25 '11 at 14:34
1  
I always think of it from the other side. Anarchy is the complete and utter refusal to be ruled. –  FumbleFingers May 25 '11 at 16:05
add comment

Benevolence?

Less commonly, grace? (as in "Would it please Your Grace...?")

Once upon a time, it was considered a good thing if royalty displayed condescension, but that word has almost exclusively negative connotations now.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Democracy. Check here.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.