WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
ol•i•gar•chy /ˈɑlɪˌgɑrki/USA pronunciation   n., pl.  -chies. 
  1. Government[uncountable] a form of government in which power is held by a few persons or by a dominant class or group.
  2. Government a state or organization ruled this way:[countable]corrupt oligarchies.
  3. Government the persons or class that rules this way:[countable]the ageing oligarchy.
ol•i•gar•chic, adj. See -arch-.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
ol•i•gar•chy  (oli gär′kē),USA pronunciation n., pl.  -chies. 
  1. Governmenta form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique;
    government by the few.
  2. Governmenta state or organization so ruled.
  3. Governmentthe persons or class so ruling.
  • Greek oligarchía. See olig-, -archy
  • Medieval Latin oligarchia
  • 1570–80


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

oligarchy /ˈɒlɪˌɡɑːkɪ/ n ( pl -chies)
  1. government by a small group of people
  2. a state or organization so governed
  3. a small body of individuals ruling such a state
  4. chiefly US a small clique of private citizens who exert a strong influence on government
Etymology: 16th Century: via Medieval Latin from Greek oligarkhia, from olígos few + -archy

ˌoliˈgarchic, ˌoliˈgarchical adj



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