• synonyms

banana republic

noun Usually Disparaging.
  1. 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.
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Origin of banana republic

First recorded in 1930–35

Usage note

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

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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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper