- 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.
- a state or organization so ruled.
- the persons or class so ruling.
Origin of oligarchy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for oligarchy
Instead we have witnessed the emergence of the Age of Oligarchy.Dawn of the Age of Oligarchy: the Alliance between Government and the 1%
June 28, 2014
“Some say America is an oligarchy for the multinationals,” he said.Vatican Science on Christmas and Creationism
December 22, 2013
The second wave of Russian oligarchy is different from the first in another way, too.Boris Berezovsky and the Russian Money Problem
March 30, 2013
Certainly they would be better off under a reformist government, rather than the smothering absolutism of the oligarchy.The Thugs Who Lead Iran's Supreme Leader
June 27, 2009
Thus much of the origin,—let us next consider the evils of oligarchy.
Tyranny springs from democracy much as democracy springs from oligarchy.
Such, then, is the form and such are the evils of oligarchy; and there may be many other evils.
Ought I not to begin by describing how the change from timocracy to oligarchy arises?
And this, speaking generally, is the way in which oligarchy is established.
- government by a small group of people
- a state or organization so governed
- a small body of individuals ruling such a state
- mainly 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
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
Word Origin and History for oligarchy
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
A system of government in which power is held by a small group.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.