oligopsony

noun

ol·​i·​gop·​so·​ny ˌä-lə-ˈgäp-sə-nē How to pronounce oligopsony (audio)
ˌō-
: a market situation in which each of a few buyers exerts a disproportionate influence on the market
oligopsonistic 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1942, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oligopsony was in 1942

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near oligopsony

Cite this Entry

“Oligopsony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oligopsony. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

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