I'm looking for a single word meaning “absolute control over something”. For example, the government having absolute control over money. →

The government has [a] ________ over money.

I thought of “stranglehold”, but I'd prefer something without the mild negative connotation. Even “monopoly” tends to give a slightly different meaning.

Any suggestions?

  • an exclusive control?
    – Fae
    Dec 25, 2015 at 13:58
  • Yea... I'd be nice to get a simple Anglo-Saxon word, if there exists one... Dec 25, 2015 at 14:04
  • "they have all control over money."? Old English all, eall, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch al and German all. :P
    – Fae
    Dec 25, 2015 at 14:06
  • Another word that comes to my mind: 'sole control': adjective late Middle English (also in the senses ‘secluded’ and ‘unrivalled’): from Old French soule, from Latin sola, feminine of solus ‘alone’. Also, 'clannish'? But that seems to have a negative connotation too.
    – Fae
    Dec 25, 2015 at 14:09
  • entire, full, whole, complete, total,
    – Fae
    Dec 25, 2015 at 14:12

8 Answers 8


I'd suggest you reconsider stranglehold, which actually is nowhere near as mild as you think.


  1. A grip around the neck of another person that can kill by asphyxiation if held for long enough.

  2. Complete or overwhelming control: in France, supermarkets have less of a stranglehold on food supplies ODO

If you're still not happy with it, consider:


1: a hold that involves strong choking pressure applied to the neck of another

2: absolute dominance or control : had a chokehold on the city's finances M-W


A vicious, strangling, or stultifying control M-W



It means unqualified or absolute control.

  • I believe this answer is worth considering. The definition of Oxford Dictionary says: without any limit; complete. And here is an example: The President does not have plenary control over the conduct of foreign relations.
    – haha
    Dec 26, 2015 at 21:40

You can consider the following set of words:

  • supremacy

  • authoritarian

  • totalitarian

supremacy (noun)

supreme authority or power.

authoritarian (adj.)

of or relating to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as completely subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people.

totalitarian (adj.)

of or relating to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.

[References - Dictionary.com]

Note that authoritarian and totalitarian are synonymous with neutral to negative connotation.

  • Thanks a lot.. I came across another one; 'absolutist' . But is there a simple Anglo-Saxon word for the same? Dec 25, 2015 at 14:06
  • 3
    None of your suggestions can cover the OP's context, having absolute control over money, better than monopoly, exclusive control, or sole control. Particularly, authoritarian and totalitarian are more related with a type (form) of government or dictatorship.
    – user140086
    Dec 25, 2015 at 14:27
  • 1
    I believe in most countries, only the Government has total control over money supply and printing, and not some private entities. We should probably seek clarifications from OP as to why they are looking past monopoly/ sole control/ stranglehold.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 25, 2015 at 15:11
  • 1
    The OP's accepting your answer has no bearing on whether the answer is correct or it solved his problem or not. You are lucky that you didn't get any downvote. They are more merciful towards rookies I guess. If I had answered this way, my answer would have been bombarded with downvotes.
    – user140086
    Dec 25, 2015 at 15:34
  • 2
    @user2277550 Take a look at this Oxford Online Dictionary definition. You need to use total before control. It's synonymous (not 100%) with undemocratic. It is related with a system of government.
    – user140086
    Dec 25, 2015 at 16:21


Oxford English Dictionaries:

    Sovereignty or control.
    ‘man’s attempt to establish dominion over nature’

American Heritage Dictionary:

    Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty: “The devil … has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion”  (Jonathan Edwards).
Collins English Dictionary:
    uncountable noun
    Dominion is control or authority.
    They truly believe they have dominion over us. [+ over]

Macmillan Dictionary:

    [uncountable] formal control, or the right to rule over something
    At that time the island was under foreign dominion.


To legislate

to mandate, establish, or regulate by or as if by legislation (Merriam Webster)

Implicit in legislating is the authoritative act of establishing of laws.

  • But, this doesn't mean total control, just control by laws Jul 8, 2017 at 12:04


  1. Control or superiority over someone or something.
    man's mastery over nature



I suggest either sovereignty or carte blanche, depending on whether the emphasis is more on complete control or on complete freedom to do anything with that something.

sovereignty : As lexico defines it:

Supreme power or authority.

‘the sovereignty of Parliament’

carte blanche : As investopedia defines it:

Carte blanche is a figurative term to describe having free reign or flexibility with budget or spending decisions for a project or investment.



. the right or condition of self-government. "Tatarstan demanded greater autonomy within the Russian Federation" 2. (in Kantian moral philosophy) the capacity of an agent to act in accordance with objective morality rather than under the influence of desires.

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