oligarchy

noun ol·i·gar·chy \ ˈä-lə-ˌgär-kē , ˈō- \
Updated on: 28 Nov 2017

Definition of oligarchy

plural oligarchies
1 : government by the few
  • The corporation is ruled by oligarchy.
2 : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes
  • a military oligarchy was established in the country
; also : a group exercising such control
  • An oligarchy ruled the nation.
3 : an organization under oligarchic control
  • That country is an oligarchy.

Examples of oligarchy in a Sentence

  1. Their nation is an oligarchy.

  2. An oligarchy rules their nation.

  3. The corporation is ruled by oligarchy.

Recent Examples of oligarchy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oligarchy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

oligarchy and Other Words for Rulers

Oligarchy is one of numerous English words for a type of rule or government. Some of these words, such as plutocracy, have an exceedingly similar meaning (both may be used to refer to rule by an economic elite, but oligarchy often has the additional connotation of corruption). Besides these two, we have meritocracy “a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement,” monarchy “a form of government in which a country is ruled by a king or queen,” ochlocracy “government by the mob," and gerontocracy “rule by elders,” among many others.

First Known Use of oligarchy

1542


OLIGARCHY Defined for English Language Learners

oligarchy

noun

Definition of oligarchy for English Language Learners

  • : a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people

  • : the people that control a country, business, etc.

  • : government or control by a small group of people



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