In the strict sense, absolute, free from all limitation or control, and
supreme, superior to all, can not properly be said of any being except the divine.
Both words are used, however, in a modified sense, of human authorities; absolute signifies being free from
limitation by other authority, and supreme exalted over all other; as, an absolute monarch, the
Synonyms for absolute, in this use, do not necessarily carry any unfavorable sense, but as absolute
power in human hands is always abused, the unfavorable meaning predominates.
Autocratic power knows no limits outside the ruler's self; arbitrary power, none outside the ruler's
will or judgment, arbitrary carrying the implication of wilfulness and capriciousness. Despotic is
commonly applied to a masterful or severe use of power, which is expressed more decidedly by tyrannical.
Arbitrary may be used in a good sense; as, the pronunciation of proper names is arbitrary; but the
bad sense is the prevailing one; as, an arbitrary proceeding.
Irresponsible power is not necessarily bad, but eminently dangerous; an executor or trustee should not be
irresponsible; an irresponsible ruler is likely to be tyrannical while a perfect ruler might
be irresponsible and not tyrannical.
Authoritative is used always in a good sense, implying the right to claim authority; imperative,
peremptory, and positive are used ordinarily in the good sense; as, an authoritative
definition; an imperative demand; a peremptory command; positive instructions.
Synonyms for absolute include imperious which signifies assuming and determined to command while rigorously
requiring obedience. An imperious demand or requirement may have in it nothing offensive; it is simply one
that resolutely insists upon compliance, and will not accept refusal.
An arrogant demand is offensive by its tone of superiority, an arbitrary demand by its
unreasonableness. An imperious disposition is liable to become arbitrary and arrogant.
A person of an independent spirit is inclined to resent an imperious manner in any one, especially in one
whose superiority is not clearly recognized.
Commanding is always used in a good sense; as, a commanding appearance; a commanding eminence;
a commanding voice.
To find another page of synonyms listed alphabetically, simply click on synonyms for
absolute and you'll go to the main synonyms page which contains a complete
listing at the bottom of the page.