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noun, plural mon·ar·chies.
  1. a state or nation in which the supreme power is actually or nominally lodged in a monarch.Compare absolute monarchy, limited monarchy.
  2. supreme power or sovereignty held by a single person.
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Origin of monarchy

1300–50; Middle English monarchie < Late Latin monarchia < Greek monarchía. See monarch, -y3
Related formsan·ti·mon·ar·chy, adjectivepro·mon·ar·chy, adjective


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1. See kingdom.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for monarchy


noun plural -chies
  1. a form of government in which supreme authority is vested in a single and usually hereditary figure, such as a king, and whose powers can vary from those of an absolute despot to those of a figurehead
  2. a country reigned over by a king, prince, or other monarch
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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 monarchy


"state ruled by monarchical government," mid-14c.; "rule by one person," late 14c.; from Old French monarchie "sovereignty, absolute power" (13c.), from Late Latin monarchia, from Greek monarkhia "absolute rule," literally "ruling of one," from monos "alone" (see mono-) + arkhein "to rule" (see archon).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

monarchy in Culture


[(mon-uhr-kee, mon-ahr-kee)]

A system of government in which one person reigns, usually a king or queen. The authority, or crown, in a monarchy is generally inherited. The ruler, or monarch, is often only the head of state, not the head of government. Many monarchies, such as Britain and Denmark, are actually governed by parliaments. (See absolute monarchy and constitutional monarchy.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.