- 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
Examples from the Web for banana republic
Contemporary Examples of banana republic
- 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
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
"small Central American state with an economy dependent on banana production," 1901, American English.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper