|—n , pl -cies|
|1.||a privileged class of people usually of high birth; the nobility|
|2.||such a class as the ruling body of a state|
|3.||government by such a class|
|4.||a state governed by such a class|
|5.||a class of people considered to be outstanding in a sphere of activity|
|[C16: from Late Latin aristocratia, from Greek aristokratia rule by the best-born, from aristos best; see |
A privileged, primarily hereditary ruling class, or a form of government controlled by such an elite.
Note: Traditionally, the disproportionate concentration of wealth, social status, and political influence in the aristocracy has been resented by the middle class and lower class.