Definitions for oligarchyˈɒl ɪˌgɑr ki

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word oligarchy

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

ol•i•gar•chyˈɒl ɪˌgɑr ki(n.)(pl.)-chies.

  1. a form of government in which power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique.

    Category: Government

  2. a state or organization so ruled.

    Category: Government

  3. the persons or class so ruling.

    Category: Government

Origin of oligarchy:

1570–80; < ML oligarchia < Gk oligarchía. See olig -, -archy



Princeton's WordNet

  1. oligarchy(noun)

    a political system governed by a few people

    "one of his cardinal convictions was that Britain was not run as a democracy but as an oligarchy"; "the big cities were notoriously in the hands of the oligarchy of local businessmen"


  1. oligarchy(Noun)

    A government run by only a few, often the wealthy.

  2. oligarchy(Noun)

    Those who make up an oligarchic government.

  3. oligarchy(Noun)

    A state ruled by such a government.

  4. Origin: From oligarchie, from oligarchia, from ὀλιγαρχία, from ὀλίγος + ἀρχή.


  1. Oligarchy

    Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next. In his 2011 book, "Oligarchy," Jeffrey A. Winters defines oligarchy as "the politics of wealth defense by materially endowed actors." In Winters' definition, massive wealth is the key factor in identifying oligarchs. Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, but oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy.

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