Definitions

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

  • n. A market condition in which sellers are so few that the actions of any one of them will materially affect price and have a measurable impact on competitors.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An economic condition in which a small number of sellers exert control over the market of a commodity.

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

  • n. (economics) a market in which control over the supply of a commodity is in the hands of a small number of producers and each one can influence prices and affect competitors

Etymologies

oligo- + (mono)poly.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Derived, by analogy with monopoly, from the Greek ὀλίγοι (oligoi, "few") + πωλειν (polein, "to sell"). From oligo- + -poly (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Google has a mid term oligopoly on search aggregation.

    Murdoch madness « BuzzMachine

  • Without controlling 100% (or at least very close to it) of the oil market, they have no shot at effectively engaging in oligopoly price setting.

    Think Progress » ThinkFast: July 14, 2006

  • The standard Cournot model of an oligopoly is shown not to have a phase transition, as it is equivalent to a continuum version of the Curie-Weiss model.

    Strange Science

  • The industry is also a monopoly -- or an oligopoly, which is many firms acting like a monopoly.

    Jeff Madrick: Why are People Defending the Bonuses?

  • The music industry is nothing but an oligopoly, which is a group of big companies acting as a monopoly.

    RIAA lies and disinformation

  • For the record, oligopsony is the flip side of oligopoly, that is, a small number of buyers, in this case, of labor services.

    Rational Review

  • And don't be fooled by the dictionary definition that "oligopoly" does not control the market.

    GOP seeks to counter ABC programming

  • Everything they will suggest plays right into the hands of the pockets of the medical oligopoly which is lead by the monopolistic AMA.

    GOP seeks to counter ABC programming

  • Think now of placing some kind of oligopoly game into a business oriented version of World of Warcraft "World of Bizcraft."

    The Glovebox and the Glovatar

  • Many special problems have been attacked such as oligopoly (markets with few sellers) which could never be adequately treated by conventional methods.

    GAME THEORY

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