aristocracy

2 ENTRIES FOUND:

ar·is·toc·ra·cy

noun \ˌa-rə-ˈstä-krə-sē, ˌer-ə-\

: the highest social class in some countries : the people who have special titles (such as duke and duchess ), who typically own land, and who traditionally have more money and power than the other people in a society

plural ar·is·toc·ra·cies

Full Definition of ARISTOCRACY

1
:  government by the best individuals or by a small privileged class
2
a :  a government in which power is vested in a minority consisting of those believed to be best qualified
b :  a state with such a government
3
:  a governing body or upper class usually made up of a hereditary nobility
4
:  the aggregate of those believed to be superior

Examples of ARISTOCRACY

  1. a member of the aristocracy
  2. <at one time in China only the aristocracy could own land>

Origin of ARISTOCRACY

Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French aristocratie, from Late Latin aristocratia, from Greek aristokratia, from aristos best + -kratia -cracy
First Known Use: 1561

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism

aristocracy

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Originally, leadership by a small privileged class or a minority thought to be best qualified to lead. Plato and Aristotle considered aristocrats to be those who are morally and intellectually superior, and therefore fit to govern in the interests of the people. The term has come to mean the upper layer of a stratified group. Most aristocracies have been hereditary, and many European societies stratified their aristocratic classes by formally titling their members, thereby making the term roughly synonymous with nobility. See also oligarchy.

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