mo·​nop·​o·​ly | \ mə-ˈnä-p(ə-)lē How to pronounce monopoly (audio) \
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 This was not planned, but was rather the result of myriad colliding stochastic evolutions: state formation and the state’s monopoly over violence, urbanization, the growing differentiation of occupations in increasingly complex economies. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, "Privacy Policy," 27 Jan. 2020 Djibouti seized the container terminal after DP World created another corridor for imports to landlocked Ethiopia in Somaliland, endangering Djibouti’s near-monopoly on Ethiopia’s imports. Washington Post, "DP World wins ruling against Djibouti over seized port," 14 Jan. 2020 The corporation is funded by the profits from Ohio’s liquor monopoly. cleveland, "Medical marijuana, abortion restrictions: Biggest Ohio government and politics stories of the 2010s," 30 Dec. 2019 These were the high tech darlings of their day; Mellon’s Alcoa monopoly produced aluminum, key to the then-fantastical aerospace industry. Wired, "Corporate America's Second War With the Rule of Law," 16 Oct. 2019 The Boston Tea Party was caused, in part, by resentment at the British East India Company’s monopoly on tea. Kyle Sammin, National Review, "Amid a Revival of Anti-Monopoly Sentiment, a New Book Traces Its History," 15 Oct. 2019 Fans can currently place wagers in eight states after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a year ago that states were free to legalize sports betting, ending Nevada's monopoly. Regina Garcia Cano,, "NBA, MLB using data to chase better deals with sportsbooks," 8 June 2019 In the name of efficiency, high-powered legal academia justified both dangerous financial practices and the creation of monopoly. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Big Law’ Makes Big Money," 28 Jan. 2020 Despite allegations of a monopoly, there has been confusion within the Korean film industry over the methodology and measures used to calculate screen shares. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Disney Hit With Anti-Trust Complaint in South Korea Over 'Frozen 2' "Monopoly"," 2 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about monopoly

Time Traveler for monopoly

Time Traveler

The first known use of monopoly was in 1534

See more words from the same year

Statistics for monopoly

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Monopoly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for monopoly


How to pronounce monopoly (audio)

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 How to pronounce monopoly (audio) \
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 How to pronounce monopoly (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!