Words related to -cracy


also *ker-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "hard."

It forms all or part of: -ard; Bernard; cancer; canker; carcinogen; carcinoma; careen; chancre; -cracy; Gerard; hard; hardly; hardy; Leonard; Richard; standard.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit karkatah "crab," karkarah "hard;" Greek kratos "strength," kratys "strong;" "hard;" Old English heard, German hart "solid and firm, not soft."

word-forming element making nouns of quality, state, or condition, a confusion in English of three similar suffixes from Latin: 1. in primacy, etc., from Old French -acie and directly from Medieval Latin -acia, Late Latin -atia, making nouns of quality, state, or condition from nouns in -as. 2. in advocacy, etc., from Late Latin -atia, forming nouns of state from nouns in -atus. 3. in fallacy, etc., from Latin -acia, forming nouns of quality from adjectives in -ax (genitive -acis). Also forming part of -cracy. Extended in English to nouns not found in Latin (accuracy) and to non-Latin words (piracy).
androcracy (n.)
"rule or supremacy of men," 1883; see andro- "man, male" + -cracy "rule or government by." Related: Androcratic.
aristocracy (n.)

1560s, "government by those who are the best citizens," from French aristocracie (Modern French aristocratie), from Late Latin aristocratia, from Greek aristokratia "government or rule of the best; an aristocracy," from aristos "best of its kind, noblest, bravest, most virtuous" (see aristo-) + abstract noun from kratos "rule, power" (see -cracy).

In early use contrasted with monarchy; after the French and American revolutions, with democracy. Meaning "rule by a privileged class, oligarchy, government by those distinguished by rank and wealth" (best-born or best-favored by fortune) is from 1570s and became paramount 17c. Hence, the meaning "patrician order, the class of hereditary nobles" (1610s) and, generally, "persons notably superior in any way, taken collectively" (1650s).

arithmocracy (n.)
"rule by numerical majority," 1850, from Greek arithmos "number, counting, amount" (see arithmetic) + -cracy "rule or government by." Related: Arithmocratic; arithmocratical.
autocracy (n.)
1650s, "independent power, self-sustained power, self-government" (obsolete), from French autocratie, from Latinized form of Greek autokrateia "absolute rule, rule by oneself," abstract noun from autokrates "ruling by oneself," from autos "self" (see auto-) + kratia "rule" (see -cracy). Meaning "absolute government, unlimited political power invested in a single person" is recorded from 1855.
autocrat (n.)
1800, used in reference to the Russian tsars, then to Napoleon, from French autocrate, from Latinized form of Greek autokrates "ruling by oneself, absolute, autocratic," from autos "self" (see auto-) + kratia "rule," from kratos "strength, power" (see -cracy). The Greek noun was autokrator, and an earlier form in English was autocrator (1759). Earliest forms in English were the fem. autocratress (1762), autocratrix (1762), autocratrice (1767, from French).
bureaucracy (n.)

"government by bureaus," especially "tyrannical officialdom," excessive multiplication of administrative bureaus and concentration of power in them, in reference to their tendency to interfere in private matters and be inefficient and inflexible, 1818, from French bureaucratie, coined by French economist Jean Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (1712-1759) on model of democratie, aristocratie, from bureau "office," literally "desk" (see bureau) + Greek suffix -kratia denoting "power of" (see -cracy).

That vast net-work of administrative tyranny ... that system of bureaucracy, which leaves no free agent in all France, except for the man at Paris who pulls the wires. [J.S. Mill, Westminster Review vol. xxviii, 1837]
bureaucrat, &c. The formation is so barbarous that all attempt at self-respect in pronunciation may perhaps as well be abandoned. [Fowler]
cottonocracy (n.)

"planters, merchants, and manufacturers anywhere who control the cotton trade," as a political ruling force, 1845; see cotton (n.) + -cracy. Bartlett's 1859 edition has "COTTONOCRACY - A term applied to the Boston manufacturers, especially by the 'Boston Whig' newspaper." Specifically of the cotton states of the southern U.S. from 1863.

democracy (n.)
Origin and meaning of democracy

"government by the people, system of government in which the sovereign power is vested in the people as a whole exercising power directly or by elected officials; a state so governed," 1570s, from French démocratie (14c.), from Medieval Latin democratia (13c.), from Greek dēmokratia "popular government," from dēmos "common people," originally "district" (see demotic), + kratos "rule, strength" (see -cracy).

Sometimes 16c.-17c. in Latinized form democratie. In 19c. England it could refer to "the class of people which has no hereditary or other rank, the common people." In 19c. U.S. politics it could mean "principles or members of the Democratic Party."

Democracy implies that the man must take the responsibility for choosing his rulers and representatives, and for the maintenance of his own 'rights' against the possible and probable encroachments of the government which he has sanctioned to act for him in public matters. [Ezra Pound, "ABC of Economics," 1933]