American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families.
- n. Those making up such a government.
- n. A state governed by a few persons.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the hands of a small exclusive class; also, collectively, those who form such a class or body.
- n. A government run by only a few, often the wealthy.
- n. Those who make up an oligarchic government.
- n. A state ruled by such a government.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A form of government in which the supreme power is placed in the hands of a few persons; also, those who form the ruling few.
- n. a political system governed by a few people
- From French oligarchie, from Latin oligarchia, from Ancient Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarchia), from ὀλίγος (oligos, "few") + ἀρχή (archē, "rule"). From oligo- + -archy (Wiktionary)
“The word oligarchy is from the Greek words for "few" and "rule".”
“The word oligarchy is from the Greek words for "few" (ὀλίγios olígios) and "rule" (ἄρχeiv arkhein).”
“Another consequence of such default, Todd says, would be freeing economies and governments from control of what he calls the "oligarchy" of mega-rich investors whose fortunes and interests drive and shape bond markets -- and whose gain through safe government securities have influenced political leaders into building up huge public debt in the first place.”
“And what manner of government do you term oligarchy?”
“But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.”
“Therefore, an oligarchy is actually a form of shared dictatorship in which the people have a limited role in the government.”
““Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative.””
“The ugliest face of the Latin American oligarchy is now standing alone against the world, showing its contempt for democracy and for its own people.”
“These are features which are similar to a Latin American oligarchy --- a so-called banana republic.”
“—Writing FictionSuddenly, you were planting some yellow petuniasoutside in the garden,and suddenly I was in the studylooking up the word oligarchy for the thirty-seventh time.”
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