banana republic


noun Usually Disparaging.

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

Usage note

This term typically refers to a dictatorship that exploits agricultural workers. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for banana republic

Contemporary Examples of banana republic

  • “It will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status,” he writes in The New York Times.

  • Americans would look askance if Afghans mimicked their own banana-republic justice.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why the Taliban Won

    Leslie H. Gelb

    August 23, 2009

British Dictionary definitions for banana republic

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

Word Origin and History for banana republic

"small Central American state with an economy dependent on banana production," 1901, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper