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[muh-nop-uh-lee] /məˈnɒp ə li/
noun, plural monopolies.
exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices.
Compare duopoly, oligopoly.
an exclusive privilege to carry on a business, traffic, or service, granted by a government.
the exclusive possession or control of something.
something that is the subject of such control, as a commodity or service.
a company or group that has such control.
the market condition that exists when there is only one seller.
(initial capital letter) a board game in which a player attempts to gain a monopoly of real estate by advancing around the board and purchasing property, acquiring capital by collecting rent from other players whose pieces land on that property.
Origin of monopoly
1525-35; < Latin monopōlium < Greek monopṓlion right of exclusive sale, equivalent to mono- mono- + pōl(eîn) to sell + -ion noun suffix
Related forms
monopoloid, adjective
antimonopoly, adjective
premonopoly, noun, plural premonopolies, adjective
promonopoly, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for monopoly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It reveals the fact that America has no monopoly of racial amalgamation.

    Mountain Meditations L. Lind-af-Hageby
  • The learned and the studious of thought have no monopoly of wisdom.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Daring, courage, virtue—there is no monopoly of these things.

    Cyropaedia Xenophon
  • Any deduction from this monopoly must bring down her rival in proportion to this deduction.

    Patrick Henry

    Moses Coit Tyler
  • Don't think that you and a select few have a monopoly of all truth and wisdom.

    Three Addresses to Girls at School James Maurice Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for monopoly


noun (pl) -lies
exclusive control of the market supply of a product or service
  1. an enterprise exercising this control
  2. the product or service so controlled
(law) the exclusive right or privilege granted to a person, company, etc, by the state to purchase, manufacture, use, or sell some commodity or to carry on trade in a specified country or area
exclusive control, possession, or use of something
Derived Forms
monopolism, noun
monopolist, noun
monopolistic, adjective
monopolistically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin, from Greek monopōlion, from mono- + pōlein to sell


trademark a board game for two to six players who throw dice to advance their tokens around a board, the object being to acquire the property on which their tokens land
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for monopoly

"exclusive control of a commodity or trade," 1530s, from Latin monopolium, from Greek monopolion "right of exclusive sale," from mono- + polein "to sell," from PIE root *pel- (5) "to sell" (cf. Sanskrit panate "barters, purchases," Lithuanian pelnas "gain," Old Church Slavonic splenu, Russian polon "prey, booty," Old Norse falr, Dutch veil, German feil "for sale, venal").

Alternative form monopole (1540s, from the Old French form of the word) was common in 16c. The popular board game, invented by Charles Darrow, is from 1935. Monopoly money "unreal currency" is attested from 1972, in reference to the paper used in the game.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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monopoly in Culture

monopoly definition

The exclusive control by one company of a service or product.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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