a combining form occurring in loanwords from Greek (aristocracy; democracy); on this model used, with the meaning “rule,” “government,” “governing body,” to form abstract nouns from stems of other origin: mobocracy; bureaucracy.

Nearby words

  1. -coele,
  2. -colous,
  3. -core,
  4. -corn,
  5. -cosm,
  6. -crat,
  7. -cule,
  8. -cy,
  9. -cyst,
  10. -cyte

Compare -crat.

Origin of -cracy

< Middle French -cracie (now -cratie) < Late Latin -cratia < Greek -kratia, equivalent to krát(os) rule, strength, might (akin to hard) + -ia -y3

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for -cracy


n combining form

indicating a type of government or ruleplutocracy; mobocracy See also -crat

Word Origin for -cracy

from Greek -kratia, from kratos power

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 -cracy


word-forming element forming nouns meaning "rule or government by," from French -cratie or directly from Medieval Latin -cratia, from Greek -kratia "power, might; rule, sway; power over; a power, authority," from kratos "strength," from PIE *kratus "power, strength" (see hard). The connective -o- has come to be viewed as part of it. Productive in English from c.1800.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper