the market condition that exists when there are few sellers, as a result of which they can greatly influence price and other market factors.Compare duopoly, monopoly(def 1).

Origin of oligopoly

First recorded in 1890–95; oligo- + (mono)poly
Related formsol·i·gop·o·lis·tic [ol-i-gop-uh-lis-tik] /ˌɒl ɪˌgɒp əˈlɪs tɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oligopoly

Contemporary Examples of oligopoly

  • It worked in broadcast TV, when we had three big networks and they operated an oligopoly.

    The Daily Beast logo
    AOL's Tricky HuffPo Marriage

    Dan Lyons

    February 7, 2011

British Dictionary definitions for oligopoly


noun plural -lies

economics a market situation in which control over the supply of a commodity is held by a small number of producers each of whom is able to influence prices and thus directly affect the position of competitors
Derived Formsoligopolistic, adjective

Word Origin for oligopoly

C20: from oligo- + Greek pōlein to sell, on the model of monopoly
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 oligopoly

1887, from Medieval Latin oligopolium, from Greek oligos "little, small," in plural, "the few" (see oligo-) + polein "to sell" (see monopoly).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

oligopoly in Culture


[(ol-i-gop-uh-lee, oh-li-gop-uh-lee)]

Control over the production and sale of a product or service by a few companies.

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.