noun \ˈä-lə-ˌgär-kē, ˈō-\

: a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people

: the people that control a country, business, etc.

: government or control by a small group of people

plural ol·i·gar·chies

Full Definition of OLIGARCHY

:  government by the few
:  a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also :  a group exercising such control
:  an organization under oligarchic control

Examples of OLIGARCHY

  1. Their nation is an oligarchy.
  2. An oligarchy rules their nation.
  3. The corporation is ruled by oligarchy.

First Known Use of OLIGARCHY


Other Government and Politics Terms

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

Rhymes with OLIGARCHY


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Rule by the few, often seen as having self-serving ends. Aristotle used the term pejoratively for unjust rule by bad men, contrasting oligarchy with rule by an aristocracy. Most classic oligarchies have resulted when governing elites were recruited exclusively from a ruling class, which tends to exercise power in its own interest. The term is considered outmoded today because “few” conveys no information about the nature of the ruling group.


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