aristocracy

noun
ar·​is·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ ˌa-rə-ˈstä-krə-sē How to pronounce aristocracy (audio) , ˌer-ə- \
plural aristocracies

Definition of aristocracy

1 : government by the best individuals or by a small privileged class
2a : a government in which power is vested (see vest entry 2 sense 1a) 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 a member of the British aristocracy
4 : a class or group of people believed to be superior (as in rank, wealth, or intellect) an intellectual aristocracy

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Examples of aristocracy in a Sentence

a member of the aristocracy at one time in China only the aristocracy could own land
Recent Examples on the Web Nothing is left out in this madcap, convoluted novel, which parodies British aristocracy on one hand and the social-climbing world of new money on the other. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘House of Trelawney’ Review: The Weight of the Estate," 1 Jan. 2021 Her family was part of both the Roman bourgeoisie, with its obsessive manners, and the country’s ramshackle aristocracy. New York Times, "The Empress of East Second Street," 3 Dec. 2020 Bridgerton challenges the established notion of who inhabited the 19th-century aristocracy, positioning Page as a devastatingly handsome duke who must fend off meddling mamas and their impressionable daughters. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page talks masculinity, joy, and romanticism," 26 Dec. 2020 This wasn’t some masterful hack into the global aristocracy. Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2020: Investigative Reporting," 21 Dec. 2020 And yet the brightest, most invigorating work came from outside the aristocracy. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "The 10 best books of 2020," 10 Dec. 2020 The aristocracy of this city is ready to move on, daring to hope that the last four years was a fever that finally broke and life can get back to normal. Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post, "Washington’s establishment hopes a Biden presidency will make schmoozing great again," 23 Nov. 2020 These stories are common across the aristocracy: The titles endure, but the grand fortunes have gone. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Earldoms for Girldom," 14 Nov. 2020 Rico Puhlman David Easton, an architect and interior designer who created English-style palaces for an American aristocracy, died on Oct. 29 at his home in Tulsa, Okla. Penelope Green, New York Times, "David Easton, Architect for an American Gentry, Dies at 83," 12 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aristocracy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aristocracy

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aristocracy

Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French aristocratie, from Late Latin aristocratia, from Greek aristokratia, from aristos best + -kratia -cracy

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Time Traveler for aristocracy

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The first known use of aristocracy was in 1561

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aristocracy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aristocracy. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for aristocracy

aristocracy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of aristocracy

: 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

aristocracy

noun
ar·​is·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ ˌer-ə-ˈstä-krə-sē How to pronounce aristocracy (audio) \
plural aristocracies

Kids Definition of aristocracy

1 : a government that is run by a small class of people
2 : an upper class that is usually based on birth and is richer and more powerful than the rest of a society
3 : people thought of as being better than the rest of the community

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