[ ar-uh-stok-ruh-see ]
/ ˌær əˈstɒk rə si /
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noun, plural ar·is·toc·ra·cies.
a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges, especially the hereditary nobility.
a government or state ruled by an aristocracy, elite, or privileged upper class.
government by those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.
a governing body composed of those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.
any class or group considered to be superior, as through education, ability, wealth, or social prestige.
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Origin of aristocracy

1555–65; (<Middle French aristocratie) <Medieval Latin aristocracia (variant of -tia) <Greek aristokratía rule of the best. See aristo-, -cracy

OTHER WORDS FROM aristocracy

an·ti·ar·is·toc·ra·cy, adjective, noun, plural an·ti·ar·is·toc·ra·cies.pro·ar·is·toc·ra·cy, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use aristocracy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for aristocracy

/ (ˌærɪˈstɒkrəsɪ) /

noun plural -cies
a privileged class of people usually of high birth; the nobility
such a class as the ruling body of a state
government by such a class
a state governed by such a class
a class of people considered to be outstanding in a sphere of activity

Word Origin for aristocracy

C16: from Late Latin aristocratia, from Greek aristokratia rule by the best-born, from aristos best; see -cracy
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

Cultural definitions for aristocracy


A privileged, primarily hereditary ruling class, or a form of government controlled by such an elite.

notes for aristocracy

Traditionally, the disproportionate concentration of wealth, social status, and political influence in the aristocracy has been resented by the middle class and lower class.
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.