noun, plural klep·toc·ra·cies.
  1. a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves.

Origin of kleptocracy

1815–20; klepto- (combining form of Greek kléptēs thief) + -cracy
Related formsklep·to·crat [klep-tuh-krat] /ˈklɛp təˌkræt/, nounklep·to·crat·ic [klep-tuh-krat-ik] /ˌklɛp təˈkræt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for kleptocratic


  1. (of a government, state, etc) characterized by corruption amongst those in power



noun plural -cies
  1. informal a government where officials are politically corrupt and financially self-interested

Word Origin for kleptocracy

C20: from klepto (mania) + -cracy
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 kleptocratic



"rule by a class of thieves," 1819, originally in reference to Spain; see kleptomania + -cracy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper