from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Absence of any form of political authority.
  • noun Political disorder and confusion.
  • noun Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Absence or insufficiency of government; a state of society in which there is no capable supreme power, and in which the several functions of the state are performed badly or not at all; social and political confusion.
  • noun Specifically A social theory which regards the union of order with the absence of all direct government of man by man as the political ideal; absolute individual liberty.
  • noun Confusion in general.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Absence of government; the state of society where there is no law or supreme power; a state of lawlessness; political confusion.
  • noun Hence, confusion or disorder, in general.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable The state of a society being without authorities or a governing body.
  • noun uncountable Anarchism; the political theory that a community is best organized by the voluntary cooperation of individuals, rather than by a government, which is regarded as being coercive by nature.
  • noun countable A chaotic and confusing absence of any form of political authority or government.
  • noun Confusion in general; disorder.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a state of lawlessness and disorder (usually resulting from a failure of government)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[New Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhiā, from anarkhos, without a ruler : an-, without; see a– + arkhos, ruler; see –arch.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

New Latin anarchia, from Ancient Greek ἀναρχία (anarkhiā), from ἀν- (an-, "not"), + ἀρχή (arkhē, "power, authority").


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  • An entirely separate concept from chaos. A political theory which holds that government (even in its most basic form) is unnecessary, oppressive to the rights and liberty of individuals. Anarchists believe that in the absence of traditional authority, voluntary alternatives to government will arise in the free market which perform the role previously assumed by the state.

    Under this model it is theorized that society will find equilibrium, that citizens will take more responsibility for themselves, and that a culture of personal autonomy will naturally support order rather than disorder. Anarchists blame the bureaucracy of modern government for wasting money, functioning slowly and ineffectively, and generally causing more problems than it solves.

    December 26, 2006

  • Anarchy literally means "no rulers" and I've seen a bumpersticker that declares:

    Anarchy doesn't mean "no rules"

    It means "no rulers"

    Contrast with anomie

    April 8, 2007

  • I... I wanna be...

    February 11, 2008

  • Anarchy does not mean "no rules." Anarchy means "no rulers." Anarchy is the absence of oppressive rule by a central authority. It is the active noun of the word "anarchism." Anarchy is self-rule, self-reliance and mutual aid. Anarchy is Democracy taken serious.

    "Anarchy" is constantly misused in the popular press as a synonym for "chaos."

    June 19, 2009