mo·​nop·​so·​ny mə-ˈnäp-sə-nē How to pronounce monopsony (audio)
plural monopsonies
: an oligopsony limited to one buyer
monopsonistic adjective

Did you know?

You're probably familiar with the word monopoly, but you may not recognize its conceptual and linguistic relative, the much rarer oligopsony. Both monopoly and oligopsony are ultimately from Greek, although monopoly passed through Latin before being adopted into English. Monopoly comes from the Greek prefix mono-, which means "one," and pōlein, "to sell." Oligopsony derives from the combining form olig-, meaning "few," and the Greek noun opsōnia—"the purchase of victuals"—which is ultimately from the combination of opson, "food," and ōneisthai, "to buy." It makes sense, then, that oligopsony refers to a buyer's market in which the seller is subjected to the potential demands of a limited pool of buyers. Another related word is monopsony, used for a more extreme oligopsony in which there is only a single buyer.

Examples of monopsony in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In October, a federal judge blocked Paramount Global’s attempt to sell publisher Simon & Schuster to the owner of Penguin Random House based on the Justice Department’s monopsony theory that the merger would harm authors of top-selling books. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Aug. 2023 In contrast, courts and regulators have largely neglected monopsony, where there exists one or a small handful of purchasers of goods and services, including labor services. Eric A. Posner, Foreign Affairs, 24 Aug. 2021 The monopsony, Conover said. Travis M. Andrews, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2022 The government’s case was thus a defense against monopsony, being pursued on behalf of producers of manuscripts—also known as authors. Christian Lorentzen, Harper’s Magazine , 8 Feb. 2023 If a company is dominant on the buy-side, it’s called a monopsony. Tim De Chant, Ars Technica, 17 Mar. 2022 Microsoft, Google, Apple, Oracle, Salesforce, and the other very large monopoly and monopsony players weren’t first movers. David A. Teich, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 Taking into account market share and monopsony concerns, studios and distributors outside of the five majors make attractive acquisition targets. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Nov. 2022 The publishing industry is both hyper-consolidated and hyper-dominated by Amazon, a clear monopsony power. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'monopsony.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


mon- + -opsony (as in oligopsony)

First Known Use

1933, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of monopsony was in 1933

Dictionary Entries Near monopsony

Cite this Entry

“Monopsony.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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