mo·​nop·​o·​ly | \ mə-ˈnä-p(ə-)lē \
plural monopolies

Definition of monopoly

1 : exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action
2 : exclusive possession or control no country has a monopoly on morality or truth— Helen M. Lynd
3 : a commodity controlled by one party had a monopoly on flint from their quarries— Barbara A. Leitch
4 : one that has a monopoly The government passed laws intended to break up monopolies.

Examples of monopoly in a Sentence

The government passed laws intended to break up monopolies.

Recent Examples on the Web

Now, instead of one fight on the federal level, telecom giants like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast face countless state-level efforts to keep their monopoly power in check. Karl Bode, The Verge, "California is leading the state-by-state fight for net neutrality," 1 Sep. 2018 For example, the air freighter market — where Boeing has a virtual monopoly today — was hit very hard in the 2008 financial crisis, and was stagnant for years afterwards. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing predicts strong growth in world’s airplane fleet, looking past near-term uncertainties," 16 July 2018 In practical terms, the ruling could pose a blow to the state of Nevada, which holds an effective monopoly on large-scale sports betting. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Supreme Court Bet Ruling a Win for Fan Duel, a Loss for Leagues," 14 May 2018 This doorstop of a biography foregrounds Obama’s love life in his early years, traces his journey-to-blackness narrative and seeks to challenge the near-monopoly the 44th president has on stories about his own life. Joumana Khatib, New York Times, "New in Paperback: ‘Rising Star,’ ‘Mrs. Fletcher’," 8 June 2018 Today, as a high-end SoC vendor, Qualcomm is basically a monopoly, with nearly every Android flagship using a Qualcomm SoC. Qualcomm recently showed off its flagship SoC for 2019, the Snapdragon 855. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Don’t buy a 5G smartphone—at least, not for a while," 14 Dec. 2018 According to Facebook’s critics, those API moves could be violations of federal anti-monopoly law. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Facebook fends off new anti-monopoly questions after UK email release," 5 Dec. 2018 Mayra Arevich, president of the Cuban state telecom monopoly ETECSA, went on national television to say Cubans can begin contracting 3G service for the first time Thursday. Andrea Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "Cuba to begin full internet access for mobile phones," 5 Dec. 2018 For all the drawbacks of monopolies, the recent merger of the two largest transportation companies into the, uh, überservice Ryde finally gave us a consistent method for moving around cities. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The World of 2045," 14 Oct. 2018

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

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for monopoly

Latin monopolium, from Greek monopōlion, from mon- + pōlein to sell

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Statistics for monopoly

Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for monopoly

The first known use of monopoly was in 1534

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English Language Learners Definition of monopoly

: complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market
: a large company that has a monopoly
: complete ownership or control of something


mo·​nop·​o·​ly | \ mə-ˈnä-pə-lē \
plural monopolies

Kids Definition of monopoly

1 : complete ownership or control of the entire supply of goods or a service in a certain market
2 : a person or group having complete control over something The laws are intended to prevent monopolies.
3 : complete ownership or control of something He thinks he has a monopoly on the truth.


mo·​nop·​o·​ly | \ mə-ˈnä-pə-lē \
plural monopolies

Legal Definition of monopoly

1 : exclusive control of a particular market that is marked by the power to control prices and exclude competition and that especially is developed willfully rather than as the result of superior products or skill — see also antitrust, Sherman Antitrust Act
2 : one that has a monopoly

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More from Merriam-Webster on monopoly

Spanish Central: Translation of monopoly

Nglish: Translation of monopoly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of monopoly for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about monopoly

Comments on monopoly

What made you want to look up monopoly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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