[ an-er-kee ]
/ ˈæn ər ki /


a state of society without government or law.
political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.
lack of obedience to an authority; insubordination: the anarchy of his rebellious teenage years.
confusion and disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith. It was impossible to find the book I was looking for in the anarchy of his bookshelves.

Origin of anarchy

1530–40; (< Middle French anarchie or Medieval Latin anarchia) < Greek, anarchía lawlessness, literally, lack of a leader, equivalent to ánarch(os) leaderless (an- an-1 + arch(ós) leader + -os adj. suffix) + -ia -y3
Related formshy·per·an·ar·chy, nounpro·an·ar·chy, adjective
Can be confusedanarchism anarchy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for anarchy

British Dictionary definitions for anarchy


/ (ˈænəkɪ) /


general lawlessness and disorder, esp when thought to result from an absence or failure of government
the absence or lack of government
the absence of any guiding or uniting principle; disorder; chaos
the theory or practice of political anarchism

Derived Formsanarchic (ænˈɑːkɪk) or anarchical, adjectiveanarchically, adverb

Word Origin for anarchy

C16: from Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos without a ruler, from an- + arkh- leader, from arkhein to rule
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