ol·​i·​gop·​so·​ny | \ ˌä-lə-ˈgäp-sə-nē How to pronounce oligopsony (audio) , ˌō- \

Definition of oligopsony

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

Other Words from oligopsony

oligopsonistic \ ˌä-​lə-​ˌgäp-​sə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce oligopsony (audio) , ˌō-​ \ 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.

First Known Use of oligopsony

1942, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oligopsony

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

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The first known use of oligopsony was in 1942

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Cite this Entry

“Oligopsony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oligopsony. Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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