oligarchy

[ol-i-gahr-kee]
noun, plural oligarchies.
1.
a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.
2.
a state or organization so ruled.
3.
the persons or class so ruling.

Origin:
1570–80; < Medieval Latin oligarchia < Greek oligarchía. See olig-, -archy

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To oligarchy
Collins
World English Dictionary
oligarchy (ˈɒlɪˌɡɑːkɪ)
 
n , pl -chies
1.  government by a small group of people
2.  a state or organization so governed
3.  a small body of individuals ruling such a state
4.  chiefly (US) a small clique of private citizens who exert a strong influence on government
 
[C16: via Medieval Latin from Greek oligarkhia, from olígos few + -archy]
 
oli'garchic
 
adj
 
oli'garchical
 
adj
 
oli'garchically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

oligarchy
1570s, from M.Fr. oligarchie (14c.), from Gk. oligarkhia "government by the few," from oligoi "few, small, little" (of unknown origin) + arkhein "to rule" (see archon).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
oligarchy [(ol-uh-gahr-kee, oh-luh-gahr-kee)]

A system of government in which power is held by a small group.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
They're what you get in a religious oligarchy, which is trying to sustain their
  special privilege against the tides of change.
It's oligarchy and history has shown us that the current state of affairs is
  not sustainable in the long-run.
But her officials' efforts to paint the protesters as a rural oligarchy bent on
  toppling the government have done her little good.
Political power was in the hands of the oligarchy, democracy was a farce.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;