The Meaning of Führer: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of führer? This guide will provide you with all of the knowledge you need on the word führer, including its definition, etymology, usage, synonyms, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word führer mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, Britannica, and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word führer – also spelled fuehrer – is the title taken on by Adolf Hitler to refer to his role of absolute authority in Germany’s Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. During this time he declared the Führerprinzip or “leader principle” to be the law of the Nazi Party. In the book Mein Kampf HItler asserted that such a dictatorship would be extended to the coming Third Reich. Directly below the fuhrer were the Reichsleiter, Reichsführer and Gauleiter. Fuhrer is two syllables – fueh-rer, and the pronunciation of fuhrer is der fy-rer,ˌdɛr ˈfü rər, fyoor-er (phonetic respelling), or ​​ˈfyʊər ər. Learn more about this word and boost your vocabulary skills. This word might be used in an eighth grade vocab quiz and is a popular eighth grade vocabulary in history class when learning about the meaning of Hitler and the powers of a tyrant via a teacher or documentary.

This political title is used almost exclusively to refer to the chancellor of the Reich, chancellor of Nazi Germany and chairman of the Nazi party Adolf Hitler who committed heinous crimes against the Jews. This political title refers to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler who used dictatorial powers and public order to commit the Holocaust. While this German word is simply the German word for leader, it has a strong association with HItler as an associated word with the umlaut and negative connotations. The Establishment of a Dictator The Enabling Act was the eventual outcome of the Reichstag Fire and was signed by Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg, though in breach of the Enabling Act. He was originally referred to as “Führer des deutschen Reiches und Volkes” (Leader of the German Reich and People) but his title was changed on 28 July 1942 to “Führer des Großdeutschen Reiches” (Leader of the Greater German Reich)

Words meaning führer are also used in many other languages to reference a dictator. You may notice that some of these words and phrases look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates which are often formed when two words in different languages have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of dictator is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Romanian: dictator‎ (masc.), dictatori‎ (masc. pl.)
  •  Esperanto: diktatoro‎
  •  Japanese: 独裁者‎ (どくさいしゃ, dokusaisha)
  •  Mandarin: 獨裁者‎, 独裁者‎ (dúcáizhě)
  •  Korean: 독재자‎ (獨裁者‎)
  •  Bulgarian: дикта́тор‎ (masc.)
  •  Greek: δικτάτορας‎ (masc.)
  •  Norman: dictateur‎ (masc.) (Jersey)
  •  Italian: dittatore‎ (masc.)
  •  Armenian: բռնապետ‎
  •  Latin: dictator‎ (masc.)
  •  Arabic: دِكْتَاتُور‎ (masc.), دِكْتَاتُور‎ (masc.)
  •  Spanish: dictador‎ (masc.), dictadora‎ (fem.)
  •  French: dictateur‎ (masc.)
  •  Tagalog: diktador‎
  •  Swahili: dikteta‎
  •  Slovene: diktator‎ (masc.)
  •  Hungarian: diktátor‎
  •  Ukrainian: дикта́тор‎ (masc.)
  •  Persian: دیکتاتور‎ (diktâtor)
  •  German: Diktator‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: ditador‎ (masc.), ditadora‎ (fem.)
  •  Estonian: diktaator‎
  •  Macedonian: дикта́тор‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: diktaattori‎
  •  Turkish: diktatör‎
  •  Belarusian: дыкта́тар‎ (masc.)
  •  Cyrillic: диктатор‎ (masc.)
  •  Czech: diktátor‎ (masc.)
  •  Breton: diktatour‎ (masc.)
  •  Hebrew: דיקטאטור‎
  •  Polish: dyktator‎ (masc.)
  •  Icelandic: einræðiherra‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: дикта́тор‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: dictator‎ (masc.)
  •  Roman: diktator‎ (masc.)
  •  Swedish: diktator‎ (common)
  •  Vietnamese: kẻ độc tài‎

What is the origin of the word fuhrer?

According to Etymonline, the word fuhrer comes from the German Führer meaning leader form the German führen meaning to lead, as well as the Middle High German vüeren, Middle High German vüerer, Old High German fuoren (the causative of faran) and the Proto-Germanic faran or fare. Der führer is predominantly only used to refer to Nazi Germany and thie German word is frequently seen in political contexts especially by a historian. The first example of the political use of Führer was in Austria with the Austrian Georg von Schönere. In Germany, the isolated word fuhrer is commonly used in numerous compound words such as Bergführer (mountain guide) or Oppositionsführer (leader of the opposition).

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word führer?

There are many different equivalent words that a person can use in place of the word führer. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. One might choose to use a synonym because they want to avoid repeating themselves, or because they would like to work on expanding their vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word führer is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  file leader
  •  despot
  •  choirmaster
  •  leader
  •  bell cow
  •  chief
  •  adviser
  •  mogul
  •  usurper
  •  boss
  •  absolute monarch
  •  bellwether
  •  totalitarian
  •  slavedriver
  •  martinet
  •  oligarch
  •  born leader
  •  driver
  •  fuehrer
  •  oppressor
  •  disciplinarian
  •  bell mare
  •  führer
  •  slave driver
  •  autocrat
  •  dictator
  •  inspired leader
  •  messiah
  •  adolf
  •  pacesetter
  •  autarch
  •  caesar
  •  absolutist
  •  hitler
  •  tycoon
  •  absolute ruler
  •  strongman
  •  ringleader
  •  pharaoh
  •  charismatic leader
  •  fugleman
  •  arrogator
  •  tyrant
  •  choragus
  •  stickler
  •  all-powerful ruler
  •  magnate
  •  duce
  •  fascist
  •  commissar
  •  commander
  •  man on horseback
  •  precentor
  •  hard master
  •  reincarnated
  •  pacemaker
  •  fhrer
  •  authoritarian
  •  furer
  •  conductor
  •  czar
  •  coryphaeus
  •  symphonic conductor
  •  standard-bearer
  •  leader of men
  •  forerunner

There are also a great many words that mean the opposite of the word führer. These are called antonyms. English language antonyms are also very useful grammatical devices to know. This list of antonyms for the word führer is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  butt-boy
  •  rule follower
  •  black sheep of the family
  •  nonentity
  •  loser
  •  peasant
  •  black sheep
  •  commoner
  •  creampuff
  •  hand
  •  backroom boy
  •  ineffectual person
  •  blind fools of fate
  •  number
  •  rule-follower
  •  underdog
  •  man in the street
  •  rule-taker
  •  letter
  •  slaves of circumstance
  •  myrmidon
  •  yes-man
  •  average joe
  •  ineffective person
  •  sock puppet

Overall, the word führer means leader in German. This word is usually used to refer to Adolf Hitler, leader of the German Nazi party.


  1. dictator: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Fuhrer synonyms – 66 Words and Phrases for Fuhrer – Page 2 | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Fuhrer antonyms – 25 Opposites of Fuhrer | Power Thesaurus 
  4. fuhrer | Origin and meaning of fuhrer | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Führer | Nazi title | Britannica