Definitions

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

  • n. Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service: "Monopoly frequently ... arises from government support or from collusive agreements among individuals” ( Milton Friedman).
  • n. Law A right granted by a government giving exclusive control over a specified commercial activity to a single party.
  • n. A company or group having exclusive control over a commercial activity.
  • n. A commodity or service so controlled.
  • n. Exclusive possession or control: arrogantly claims to have a monopoly on the truth.
  • n. Something that is exclusively possessed or controlled: showed that scientific achievement is not a male monopoly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A situation, by legal privilege or other agreement, in which solely one party (company, cartel etc.) exclusively provides a particular product or service, dominating that market and generally exerting powerful control over it.
  • n. An exclusive control over the trade or production of a commodity or service through exclusive possession.
  • n. The privilege granting the exclusive right to exert such control
  • n. The market thus controlled
  • n. The holder (person, company or other) of such market domination in one of the the above manners.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The exclusive power, or privilege of selling a commodity; the exclusive power, right, or privilege of dealing in some article, or of trading in some market; sole command of the traffic in anything, however obtained
  • n. Exclusive possession.
  • n. The commodity or other material thing to which the monopoly relates.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An exclusive privilege to carry on a traffic.
  • n. Specifically, in Eng. constitutional hist., and hence sometimes in American law, such an exclusive privilege when granted by the crown or state to an individual, association, or corporation, for the sake of the pecuniary advantage of its exclusiveness.
  • n. In political economics, and as used in a general sense in law, such an exclusive privilege to carry on a traffic, or deal in or control a given class of articles, as will enable the holder to raise prices materially above what they would be if the traffic or dealing were free to citizens generally.
  • n. That which is the subject of a monopoly: as, in Bengal opium is a monopoly.
  • n. The possession or assumption of anything to the exclusion of other possessors: thus, a man is popularly said to have a monopoly of any business of which he has acquired complete control.
  • n. Loosely, a company or corporation which enjoys a monopoly.

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

  • n. (economics) a market in which there are many buyers but only one seller
  • n. a board game in which players try to gain a monopoly on real estate as pieces advance around the board according to the throw of a die
  • n. exclusive control or possession of something

Etymologies

Latin monopōlium, from Greek monopōlion : mono-, mono- + pōlein, to sell.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin monopōlium, from Ancient Greek μονοπώλιον (monopōlion, "a right of exclusive sale"), from μόνος (monos, "sole") + πωλέω (pōleō, "I barter, sell"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Any assignment which does not convey to the assignee the entire and unqualified monopoly which the patentee holds in the territory specified, or an undivided interest in the entire _monopoly, _ is a mere license.

    Practical Pointers for Patentees

  • There are two evils of our present railway system, however, which are not chargeable to monopoly, but to the _attempt to defeat monopoly_, and which are important to our discussion.

    Monopolies and the People

  • I know that, but the term monopoly is used much more loosely outside of economic textbooks.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Further Left You Are the Less You Know About Economics:

  • When consumers hear the term monopoly, the first thing that comes to mind is often price-fixing and other illegal business practices.

    The Next 7 American Monopolies

  • In The Economic Way of Thinking, for example, the ambiguity associated with the term monopoly is explored --- if you define the relevant market broadly enough no monopoly is evident, but if your definition is narrow then every good will exhibit monopolistic characteristics.

    Responding to Claims of Market Failure - The Austrian Economists

  • Profile of SAIC -- former internet domain monopoly is the invisible spook WalMart

    Boing Boing: May 4, 2003 - May 10, 2003 Archives

  • Nasionale Pers chief executive Hennie van Deventer said the term monopoly had always been loosely used.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • It is to be noted that in this seventh law we have used in apposition with the term monopoly, the term "inequality of competition" instead of

    Monopolies and the People

  • They want to use the term monopoly, and examine the institution the same way all monopolies are examined in economic literature.

    Mises Dailies

  • The title monopoly is just a never-ending cycle of the best players picking the same four or five schools that win the title and so on and so on.

    Blog updates

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