noun ol·i·gop·so·ny \ˌä-lə-ˈgäp-sə-nē, ˌō-\

Definition of oligopsony

  1. :  a market situation in which each of a few buyers exerts a disproportionate influence on the market


play \ˌä-lə-ˌgäp-sə-ˈni-stik, ˌō-\ adjective

oligopsony was our Word of the Day on 01/03/2017. Hear the podcast!

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-" ("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 "buyers' 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.

Origin and Etymology of oligopsony

olig- + Greek opsōnia purchase of victuals, from opsōnein to purchase victuals, from opson food + ōneisthai to buy — more at venal

First Known Use: 1942

Seen and Heard

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a brief usually trivial fact

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