Definitions

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

  • noun A government characterized by rampant greed and corruption.

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

  • noun A corrupt and dishonest government characterised by greed.

Etymologies

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

[Greek kleptein, to steal + –cracy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

klepto- + -cracy

Examples

  • ANDERSON: His reign of corruption would last three decades, spawning the term kleptocracy, rule by thieves.

    CNN Transcript Oct 7, 2006

  • COOPER: His reign of corruption would last three decades, spawning the term kleptocracy, rule by thieves.

    CNN Transcript Oct 3, 2006

  • Many Malaysians now use the word "kleptocracy" to describe their ruling class.

    Testing Malaysia's Promises

  • A commission on Central America chaired by Henry Kissinger declared in 1984 that the general’s “achievements gave new meaning to the term kleptocracy, that is, government as theft.”

    Into the Story

  • A commission on Central America chaired by Henry Kissinger declared in 1984 that the general’s “achievements gave new meaning to the term kleptocracy, that is, government as theft.”

    Into the Story

  • A commission on Central America chaired by Henry Kissinger declared in 1984 that the general’s “achievements gave new meaning to the term kleptocracy, that is, government as theft.”

    Into the Story

  • A commission on Central America chaired by Henry Kissinger declared in 1984 that the general’s “achievements gave new meaning to the term kleptocracy, that is, government as theft.”

    Into the Story

  • Or turning into a southern European kleptocracy is much more of something I’d worry about.

    Matthew Yglesias » McConnell Warns of American Dystopia — More Equality, Less Poverty, Longer Life Expectancy

  • The journey from revolutionary times, when Mugabe was instrumental in overthrowing a brutal white power structure, to the excesses of his kleptocracy has been a difficult one.

    Clarence Lusane: Zimbabwe May Emulate Tunisia, Egypt, Libya...

  • The journey from revolutionary times, when Mugabe was instrumental in overthrowing a brutal white power structure, to the excesses of his kleptocracy has been a difficult one.

    Clarence Lusane: Zimbabwe May Emulate Tunisia, Egypt, Libya...

Comments

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  • "A government characterized by rampant greed and corruption." per the American Heritage Dictionary. Also kleptocratic & kleptocrat.

    January 28, 2007

  • This word needs more popularity. Seriously.

    August 26, 2007

  • I agree. Not enough people are stealing it.

    August 27, 2007

  • Yes, as through this world I've wandered

    I've seen lots of funny men;

    Some will rob you with a six-gun,

    And some with a fountain pen.

    -Woody Guthrie, Pretty Boy Floyd

    October 31, 2007

  • ~ a political regime whose members make flagrantly dishonest use of their official position for personal gain

    Related Forms:

    * kleptocrat klep′·to·crat′ (-tə krat′) noun

    * kleptocratic klep′·to·crat′ic adjective

    Usage Examples

    * Lord Black accused of running a "corporate kleptocracy."

    January 18, 2009