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

America does not have a monopoly on mental health issues, bigots, or extremists. German Lopez, Vox, "He survived the Las Vegas mass shooting. Then he died in the Thousand Oaks, California, shooting.," 9 Nov. 2018 But these schools do not have a monopoly on producing smart lawyers. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "The ‘cloistered’ Harvard-Yale law monopoly on the Supreme Court," 10 July 2018 After all, as Japanese policymakers point out, America does not have a monopoly on tech. The Economist, "Asia is at last waking up to the threat of a trade war," 28 June 2018 There are good people in both parties, and neither has a monopoly on good ideas. Fortune, "Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Supporting Democrats in 2018," 20 June 2018 Not yet — and Macy's boffo earnings show why That worked fine when stores like Saks had a monopoly. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Saks Fifth Avenue bets 'magic mirrors,' face workouts will bring online buyers to stores," 29 May 2018 The changes will also allow the company to devote more resources to SUVs and trucks, vehicles that have exploded in popularity as consumers continue to lose interest in passenger cars, which no longer have a monopoly on good gas mileage., "Finally, good news for Chipotle," 26 Apr. 2018 But neither political party has a monopoly on the truth or on constructive ideas for our country. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Joshua Kushner Just Shared a Secret Wedding Photo of Karlie Kloss, and It's Perfect," 21 Oct. 2018 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle don't have a monopoly on royal PDA; the Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike were seen kissing at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park over the weekend. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Zara and Mike Tindall Shared a Sweet Kiss at a Festival Over the Weekend," 6 Aug. 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

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

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