- any of the small countries in the tropics, especially in the Western Hemisphere, whose economies are largely dependent on fruit exports, tourism, and foreign investors.
Origin of banana republic
First recorded in 1930–35
This term typically refers to a dictatorship that exploits agricultural workers.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- derogatory a small country, esp in Central America, that is politically unstable and has an economy dominated by foreign interest, usually dependent on one export, such as bananas
Word Origin and History for banana republics
"small Central American state with an economy dependent on banana production," 1901, American English.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
A term describing any of several small nations in Latin America that have economies based on a few agricultural crops.
The term banana republic is often used in a disparaging sense; it suggests an unstable government.
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.