banana republic

[ buh-nan-uhri-puhb-lik ]

nounUsually Disparaging.
  1. a small, poor country, often reliant on a single export or limited resource, governed by an authoritarian regime and characterized by corruption and economic exploitation by foreign corporations conspiring with local government officials.

  2. any exploitative government that functions poorly for its citizenry while disproportionately benefiting a corrupt elite group or individual.

Origin of banana republic

Coined by O. Henry in his short-story collection Cabbages and Kings (1904); originally used to describe those agrarian countries of Central America dependent in the early 20th century on foreign investment in fruit exports

Words Nearby banana republic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use banana republic in a sentence

  • They stood now almost facetoface, the width of one pitiful little banana republic between them.

  • In the constitution of this small, maritime banana republic was a forgotten section that provided for the maintenance of a navy.

  • At that time we had a treaty with about every foreign country except Belgium and that banana republic, Anchuria.

British Dictionary definitions for banana republic

banana republic

  1. 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