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...

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    I think the correct word is Justice.
    – patrick
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 14:17
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    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
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 19:15

7 Answers 7


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:


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


  • 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.
    – Ryan Stull
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 3:36
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    Idiot: I'd say an egalitarian king is by definition an oxymoron. Commented May 25, 2011 at 14:25
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    @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
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 15:56
  • Egalitarian is the belief in equality of all people. No king would be egalitarian. He would be like common?
    – Thursagen
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 21:22

benevolence (from thefreedictionary)

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

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    Since benevolent dictatorship is a well-establish phrase, I would say benevolence is the right adjective here. Commented May 25, 2011 at 12:29
  • @Peter Shor: That was my thinking, and I probably should have said so in the answer. Thanks for filling the gap. Commented May 25, 2011 at 14:22

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?


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

  • But you can't actually rule "with anarchy". Commented May 25, 2011 at 14:30
  • Indeed. Anarchy is a complete and utter failure to rule. Commented May 25, 2011 at 14:34
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    I always think of it from the other side. Anarchy is the complete and utter refusal to be ruled. Commented May 25, 2011 at 16:05


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.


try laissez faire


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.
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    @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. Commented May 25, 2011 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) Commented May 27, 2011 at 5:15
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    @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. Commented May 27, 2011 at 22:52
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    @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. Commented May 28, 2011 at 19:46
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    @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! Commented May 29, 2011 at 12:34

Democracy. Check here.

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