[ ol-i-gahr-kee ]
/ ˈɒl ɪˌgɑr ki /

noun, plural ol·i·gar·chies.

a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.
a state or organization so ruled.
the persons or class so ruling.



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Origin of oligarchy

First recorded in 1570–80; from Medieval Latin oligarchia, from Greek oligarchía. See olig-, -archy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for oligarchy

British Dictionary definitions for oligarchy

/ (ˈɒlɪˌɡɑːkɪ) /

noun plural -chies

government by a small group of people
a state or organization so governed
a small body of individuals ruling such a state
mainly US a small clique of private citizens who exert a strong influence on government

Derived forms of oligarchy

oligarchic or oligarchical, adjectiveoligarchically, adverb

Word Origin for oligarchy

C16: via Medieval Latin from Greek oligarkhia, from olígos few + -archy
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

Cultural definitions for oligarchy

[ (ol-uh-gahr-kee, oh-luh-gahr-kee) ]

A system of government in which power is held by a small group.

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.