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Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (1)

1. a political system governed by a few people;
- Example: "one of his cardinal convictions was that Britain was not run as a democracy but as an oligarchy"
- Example: "the big cities were notoriously in the hands of the oligarchy of local businessmen"

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Oligarchy \Ol"i*gar"chy\, n.; pl. Oligarchies. [Gr. ?; 'oli`gos few, little + 'a`rchein to rule, govern: cf. F. oligarchie.] A form of government in which the supreme power is placed in the hands of a few persons; also, those who form the ruling few. [1913 Webster] All oligarchies, wherein a few men domineer, do what they list. --Burton. [1913 Webster]