noun, plural plu·toc·ra·cies.

the rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy.
a government or state in which the wealthy class rules.
a class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.

Origin of plutocracy

1645–55; < Greek ploutokratía, equivalent to ploûto(s) wealth + -kratia -cracy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plutocracy

Contemporary Examples of plutocracy

Historical Examples of plutocracy

  • They will often learn by experience that the democracy has become a plutocracy.

  • Because the danger of plutocracy forced itself on the people.

    Ethics in Service

    William Howard Taft

  • By the mere health of his soul he could smell out the evil of a plutocracy.

  • American plutocracy has never got itself respected like English aristocracy.

    What I Saw in America

    G. K. Chesterton

  • What has the American plutocracy won at home as a result of the war?

    The American Empire

    Scott Nearing

British Dictionary definitions for plutocracy


noun plural -cies

the rule or control of society by the wealthy
a state or government characterized by the rule of the wealthy
a class that exercises power by virtue of its wealth
Derived Formsplutocratic (ˌpluːtəˈkrætɪk) or plutocratical, adjectiveplutocratically, adverb

Word Origin for plutocracy

C17: from Greek ploutokratia government by the rich, from ploutos wealth + -kratia rule, power
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 plutocracy

1650s, from Greek ploutokratia "rule or power of the wealthy or of wealth," from ploutos "wealth" (see Pluto) + -kratia "rule" (see -cracy). Synonym plutarchy is slightly older (1640s). Pluto-democracy "plutocracy masquerading as democracy" is from 1895.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for plutocracy



Government by the rich. The term is usually one of reproach.

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.