klep·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ klep-ˈtä-krə-sē How to pronounce kleptocracy (audio) \
plural kleptocracies

Definition of kleptocracy

: government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed also : a particular government of this kind

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Other Words from kleptocracy

kleptocrat \ ˈklep-​tə-​ˌkrat How to pronounce kleptocracy (audio) \ noun
kleptocratic \ ˌklep-​tə-​ˈkra-​tik How to pronounce kleptocracy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of kleptocracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Putin's kleptocracy has but one viable business, oil and gas. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: America at the transition, overpopulation," 16 Jan. 2021 His page-turning account of U.S. complicity in creating Joseph Mobutu’s kleptocracy in Congo is a reminder of how policies can succeed on one level and fail on another. Washington Post, "The 75-year political war between the United States and Russia," 23 Oct. 2020 The satire of today, circulating most visibly on social media and late-night television, will do its work tomorrow, and the next day, even if the United States settles into a long period of decline, kleptocracy and authoritarianism. Washington Post, "I returned to the National Gallery seeking comfort. But art no longer feels like an escape.," 7 Oct. 2020 Both of the buildings most closely associated with Ivanka’s efforts have effectively imploded, leaving little but the imprints of corruption and kleptocracy in their wake. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "Ivanka Trump’s Starring Role in Her Father’s Financial Troubles," 30 Sep. 2020 In the past 30 years, corruption has become entrenched, kleptocracy the norm. Rebecca Hamilton, Washington Post, "The Georgetown Student Who Became Justice Minister of Sudan," 5 Feb. 2020 Mrs Warren has since focused heavily on her loathing for sleaze and kleptocracy on the campaign trail. The Economist, "How Elizabeth Warren could benefit from the impeachment saga," 27 Sep. 2019 The fact that America has been a bastion of anonymous shells is a blight on Washington’s claims to be fighting kleptocracy and grand corruption abroad. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "How to Stop Kleptocrats From Stashing Their Cash in America," 18 Sep. 2019 Yet none of Guaido's failure alters the underlying crisis at the heart of Venezuela: that its kleptocracy and mismanagement are still bleeding it dry, with hundreds of thousands still refugees around the region. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "Things have changed for Venezuela. But they're not what Juan Guaido hoped for," 21 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kleptocracy.' 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 kleptocracy

1819, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of kleptocracy was in 1819

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Cite this Entry

“Kleptocracy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kleptocracy. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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