Dictionary.com

plutocratic

[ ploo-tuh-krat-ik ]
/ ˌplu təˈkræt ɪk /
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adjective

of, relating to, or characterized by a plutocracy or plutocrats.

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Origin of plutocratic

First recorded in 1865–70; plutocrat + -ic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does plutocratic mean?

Plutocratic is used to describe things that involve a plutocracy—a government in which wealthy people use their wealth to rule.

Such people can be called plutocrats. Plutocratic is typically used to describe systems that resemble or function as plutocracies or the actions of people considered plutocrats.

In a plutocracy, the plutocrats may be the actual leaders, or they may influence or control the decisions that the leaders make. Plutocracy is never used as an official term for a form of government (like democracy is, for example)—it’s almost always applied as a criticism of such situations. Describing something as plutocratic is a way of pointing out inequality and the powerful influence of the wealthy in politics and government.

A country that is thought to have a plutocratic government can also be referred to as a plutocracy, as in Many outsiders saw the nation as an oppressive plutocracy.

Plutocracy can also refer to the power that this kind of wealth can allow, as in His latest column explains his belief that the government has been corrupted by plutocracy. It can also refer to the wealthy class that is using wealth to rule, as in The businessman was accused of being a member of the plutocracy. 

Example: Average citizens are angry because they believe billionaires have created a plutocratic system to benefit themselves and their fellow plutocrats.

Where does plutocratic come from?

The first records of the word plutocratic come from the 1800s. It ultimately comes from the Greek ploutokratía. The first part of the word comes from ploûto(s), meaning “wealth.” (The name of the god Pluto of Greek mythology—for whom the dwarf planet is named—comes from the related Greek Ploutōn, meaning “the rich one.”) The suffix -crat means “ruler” and is used in terms like bureaucrat and autocrat. The suffix -ic is used to form adjectives (like bureaucratic and autocratic).

Plutocrats are the rich people who rule with their wealth. Describing something as plutocratic does not imply a specific political doctrine or philosophy. Instead, the term is often used to imply that such a system leads to corruption and oppression—no matter what the official form of government is or what the specific politics of its leaders are.

Plutocratic is often used alongside other critical terms describing other forms of government thought to be corrupt or unjust, such as autocratic (used to describe a ruler who has unlimited power or the system in which they operate).

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What are some other forms related to plutocratic?

What are some words that share a root or word element with plutocratic

What are some words that often get used in discussing plutocratic?

How is plutocratic used in real life?

Plutocratic is almost always used in a critical way. It usually implies that such governments are corrupt and oppressive.

 

 

Try using plutocratic!

Is plutocratic used correctly in the following sentence? 

Their motivations are mainly plutocratic—they want to accumulate wealth and stay in power.

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