ol·​i·​gop·​o·​ly ˌä-lə-ˈgä-pə-lē How to pronounce oligopoly (audio)
: a market situation in which each of a few producers affects but does not control the market
oligopolist noun
oligopolistic adjective

Examples of oligopoly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Apple is far from alone in the practice of expansion via acquisition or emulation; the story of consumer technology in the 21st century is largely the story of a handful of tech giants becoming monopolies and oligopolies by buying up, absorbing, or cloning the competition. Brian Merchant, Los Angeles Times, 5 Oct. 2023 Ng taught OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman at Stanford and hinted his former student may be trying to consolidate an oligopoly of powerful tech companies controlling AI. Ryan Hogg, Fortune, 1 Nov. 2023 Indeed, monopoly and oligopoly can be very pro-worker under the right circumstances. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 3 Oct. 2023 Zelenskyy’s pitch was a new kind of politics: consensual, based on listening to the people and taking advice from experts, and decoupled from the oligopolies that corrupted administrations and slowed economic and social progress. WIRED, 25 July 2023 And the unchanging ranks at the top of the industry suggest an oligopoly. Rakesh Kumar, Fortune, 13 June 2023 The Parler situation, however, opens a new front in the online speech wars, as the debate over moderation migrates from an oligopoly of social media platforms to the oligopoly of companies that make those platforms available to the public. Gilad Edelman, Wired, 13 Jan. 2021 Many car dealerships are now very wealthy corporate behemoths and the Big Three are no longer an oligopoly with the market to themselves. Peter Weber, The Week, 21 June 2023 Web3 is trying to take us to a democratized, creator/owner phase of the internet, where power shifts from big tech and media oligopolies to individuals. Dean Debiase, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History


olig- + -poly (as in monopoly)

First Known Use

1895, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oligopoly was in 1895

Dictionary Entries Near oligopoly

Cite this Entry

“Oligopoly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oligopoly. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition


ol·​i·​gop·​o·​ly ˌä-li-ˈgä-pə-lē, ˌō- How to pronounce oligopoly (audio)
plural oligopolies
: a condition in which a few sellers dominate a particular market to the detriment of competition by others

More from Merriam-Webster on oligopoly

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