Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
absolute power corrupts absolutely
proverb One who holds unchecked power or authority is likely to become corrupt or abuse one's position. This phrase is usually attributed to 19th-century historian Lord Acton. He really started abusing the authority of his office when he was promoted to CEO. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. A: "I never should have appointed Brian head of the committee." B: "You need to call him in for a meeting before he thinks that he can do whatever he wants. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Their king isn't the first to take his power too far, and he won't be the last—absolute power corrupts absolutely.
A strong declaration of refusal or denial. A: "Hey, can you loan me some money?" B: "Absolutely not! You still haven't paid back the money you borrowed from me last time." A: "Can I go to the party, Mom?" B: "Absolutely not! You're grounded, remember?" Absolutely not—no one is to talk to the media until we put out an official statement.
power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely
The more powerful one is, the more unscrupulous one becomes. A: "I never should have appointed him head of the committee." B: "You need to call him in for a meeting before he thinks that he can do whatever he wants. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Prov. One who has total authority is very likely to abuse his position. (This phrase was used by the British historian Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.") We thought that Johnson would be a responsible mayor, but within a year of taking office, he was as bad as all the rest. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
a strong denial or refusal. (Compare this with Definitely not!) Bob: Can I please have the car again tonight? Father: Absolutely not! You can't have the car every night!
See also: absolutely
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.