noun, plural the·oc·ra·cies.
- a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
- a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
- a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.
noun plural -cies
- government by a deity or by a priesthood
- a community or political unit under such government
n.1620s, “sacerdotal government under divine inspiration” (as that of Israel before the rise of kings), from Greek theokratia “the rule of God” (Josephus), from theos “god” (see Thea) + kratos “a rule, regime, strength” (see -cracy). Meaning “priestly or religious body wielding political and civil power” is recorded from 1825. A nation or state in which the clergy exercise political power and in which religious law is dominant over civil law. Iran led by the Ayatollah Khomeini was a theocracy under the Islamic clergy. (See Islam.)