from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A hereditary ruling class; nobility.
- n. Government by a ruling class.
- n. A state or country having this form of government.
- n. Government by the citizens deemed to be best qualified to lead.
- n. A state having such a government.
- n. A group or class considered superior to others.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The nobility, or the hereditary ruling class
- n. Government by such a class, or a state with such a government
- n. A class of people considered (not normally universally) superior to others
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Government by the best citizens.
- n. A ruling body composed of the best citizens.
- n. A form a government, in which the supreme power is vested in the principal persons of a state, or in a privileged order; an oligarchy.
- n. The nobles or chief persons in a state; a privileged class or patrician order; (in a popular use) those who are regarded as superior to the rest of the community, as in rank, fortune, or intellect.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Government by the best men in the state; a governing body composed of the best men in the state.
- n. A form of government in which the supreme power is exercised by those members of the state who are distinguished by their rank and opulence.
- n. A body of persons holding exceptional prescriptive rank or privileges; specifically, a class of hereditary nobility; the nobles of a country and those nearly related to them.
- n. Persons noted for superiority in any character or quality, taken collectively: as, the aristocracy of wealth or of culture.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the most powerful members of a society
- n. a privileged class holding hereditary titles
Late Latin aristocratia, government by the best, from Greek aristokratiā : aristos, best; see ar- in Indo-European roots + -kratiā, -cracy.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French aristocracie, from Medieval Latin *aristocracia, from Ancient Greek άριστοκρατία (aristokratia, "the rule of the best"), from ἄριστος (áristos, "best, noblest") + -κρατία (kratia), from κράτος (kratos, "power, rule") (Wiktionary)