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1. A governor of a province in ancient Persia.
2. A ruler.
3. A subordinate bureaucrat or official: "The satraps of Capitol Hill will not sit idly by" (David Nyhan).
4. Usage Problem A satrapy.
[Middle English satrape, from Old French, from Latin satrapēs, from Greek, from Old Persian khshathrapāvā, protector of the province : khshathra-, realm, province + pāvā, protector; see pā- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: In its primary and figurative senses, satrap refers to a person. Sometimes the word is used to refer to the geographical location or organization under the control of a satrap, as in this quotation from a 2014 editorial in Forbes magazine:"Plunging oil prices are hammering Moscow far more than are the tepid, half-hearted sanctions imposed by the West after Putin's ... machinations to effectively make Ukraine a Russian satrap." The correct term for this sense, however, is satrapy, and most writers maintain this distinction.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. (Historical Terms) (in ancient Persia) a provincial governor
2. (Historical Terms) a subordinate ruler, esp a despotic one
[C14: from Latin satrapa, from Greek satrapēs, from Old Persian khshathrapāvan, literally: protector of the land]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
sa•trap(ˈseɪ træp, ˈsæ-)
1. a governor of a province in ancient Persia.
2. a subordinate ruler, often a despot.
[1350–1400; < Latin satrapa < Greek satrápēs < Old Persian khshathra-pāvan- country-protector]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.