Definitions

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

  • noun Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families.
  • noun Those making up such a government.
  • noun A state governed by a few persons.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.

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

  • noun 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.

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

  • noun A government run by only a few, often the wealthy.
  • noun Those who make up an oligarchic government.
  • noun A state ruled by such a government.

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

  • noun a political system governed by a few people

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French oligarchie, from Latin oligarchia, from Ancient Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarchia), from ὀλίγος (oligos, "few") + ἀρχή (archē, "rule"). From oligo- + -archy

Examples

  • The word oligarchy is from the Greek words for "few" and "rule".

    The Big Picture

  • The word oligarchy is from the Greek words for "few" (ὀλίγios olígios) and "rule" (ἄρχeiv arkhein).

    Jonathan Farrington's Blog

  • And what manner of government do you term oligarchy?

    The Republic by Plato ; translated by Benjamin Jowett

  • And what manner of government do you term oligarchy?

    The Republic

  • 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.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • And what manner of government do you term oligarchy?

    The Republic of Plato

  • Therefore, an oligarchy is actually a form of shared dictatorship in which the people have a limited role in the government.

    ACPO blames front-line cops for doing their job SHOCK! « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • 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.

    The Quiet Coup

  • 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.

    The Quiet Coup

  • 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.

    The Quiet Coup

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