Monday, June 19, 2017

Archy and Cracy

Archy and Cracy
This post is my lesson to me for the week and maybe it will be handy for you. I’ve been trying to keep straight those 
 -archy and -cracy words. (I didn’t include monarchy because I’ve been straight about that one since I was 4 or so. Even baby boomers played princess.) These terms keep coming up in my reading, during conversations, and in my nightmares and I would like to be less vague about what they mean; become more certain that this is that one and that is this one. I went to the Oxford Online Dictionary and once or twice to Merriam Webster, talked to a super smart friend, and read some Carl Jung regarding “technocracy.” It’s been a long time since I’ve read Jung; I’m going to read the essay, “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man” in full, soon. I need to know more about that. I chose mostly lightweight example sentences (provided by the OED and MW lexicographers) because there is such heaviness in the air these days. Speaking of air, did we (none of us did it, but) really have to shoot down that Syrian government jet? Really?
I have deliberately chosen a chaotic form for this post.
1978-Me at the Parthenon
Do you believe me?Really?
So. Here are the words I want to remember from now on. No more cloudy-headedness for me about these here terms!


            (forming nouns) denoting a type of rule or government, corresponding to nouns ending in -arch.‘monarchy’

Representing Greek arkh(e)ia ‘government, leadership’, formed as -arch: see -y.




            Denoting a particular form of government, rule, or influence.‘autocracy’‘democracy’
From French -cratie, via medieval Latin from Greek -kratia ‘power, rule’.


mass noun

            1A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems.‘he must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy’
            2Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal. autocracy

‘Or maybe Dr. Chaos really is the last hope of anarchy, and it's all a big lizard plot?’

Mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos, from an- ‘without’ + arkhos ‘chief, ruler’.

mass noun

            1A system of government by one person with absolute power.                     
                        1.1 A state or society governed by one person with absolute power. ‘the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was an autocracy’

                        1.2 Domineering rule or control. ‘a boss who shifts between autocracy and consultation’

‘And as a form of social protest against autocracy and political tyranny, there is no medium that can surpass cartoons.’
Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘autonomy’): from Greek autokrateia, from autokratēs (see autocrat).


1. A small group of people having control of a country or organization.
‘the ruling oligarchy of military men around the president’

            1.1 A country governed by an oligarchy. ‘he believed that Britain was an oligarchy’

            1.2  mass noun Government by an oligarchy.

‘The city's artisans rebelled against the ruling oligarchy of merchants and nobles.’

Late 15th century: from Greek oligarkhia, from oligoi ‘few’ and arkhein ‘to rule’.


plural kleptocracies

         :  government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed; also :  a particular government of this kind
kleptocrat\ˈklep-tə-ˌkrat\ noun
kleptocratic\ˌklep-tə-ˈkra-tik\ adjective

from Ancient Greek (kléptēs, “thief”),  (kléptō, “steal”), from Proto-Indo-European*klep- (“to steal”); and from the Ancient Greek suffix -κρατία (-kratía), from (krátos, “power, rule”; klépto- thieves + -kratos rule, literally "rule by thieves")
Recent Examples of kleptocracy from the Web
         The move to consolidate the matters, involving allegations of kleptocracy of Ukrainian government funds, indicates that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is assuming a broad mandate in his new role running the sensational investigation.Associated Press, Fox News, "Special counsel's Trump campaign probe includes Manafort case", 2 June 2017
         Russia has been given many labels, from kleptocracy to Mafia state, but the most analytically helpful may be among the oldest: feudalism.Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "Putin’s Shadow Cabinet and the Bridge to Crimea", 29 May 2017
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kleptocracy'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors.

First Known Use of kleptocracy: 1819


mass noun

            1Government by the wealthy.

            1.1 A state or society governed by the wealthy.

            1.2  An elite or ruling class whose power derives from their wealth.

Mid 17th century: from Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos ‘wealth’ + kratos ‘strength, authority’.

‘Since most people don't want to admit out loud that they live in a plutocracy, successful politicians have, until now, worked hard to keep up an illusion.’



            1A system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.

‘Unquestionably those good English zealots founded unforgiving theocracies on the soil of New England.’

Early 17th century: from Greek theokratia (see theo-, -cracy).


mass noun

            1A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

            1.1 A state governed under a system of democracy. ‘a multiparty democracy’
            1.2 Control of an organization or group by the majority of its members. ‘the intended extension of industrial democracy’

            1.3 The practice or principles of social equality. ‘demands for greater democracy’

‘The history of the world is a history of systems: monarchy, oligarchy, democracy, what you will.’

Late 16th century: from French démocratie, via late Latin from Greek dēmokratia, from dēmos ‘the people’ + -kratia ‘power, rule’.


mass noun

            1The government or control of society or industry by an elite of technical experts.failure in the war on poverty discredited technocracy’
               1.1 An instance or application of technocracy.
               1.2 An elite of technical experts.

‘He argues that we live in a corporate oligarchy in which technocracies control technologies.’

Early 20th century: from Greek tekhnē ‘art, craft’ + -cracy.

timocracy (Bonus word for me—never heard this one before.)


            1A form of government in which possession of property is required in order to hold office.
            2A form of government in which rulers are motivated by ambition or love of honour.

‘These days we have moved on from a timocracy, but you'll still find plenty examples of the John Jay mentality here.’

Late 15th century: from Old French timocracie, via medieval Latin from Greek timokratia, from timē ‘honour, worth’ + -kratia ‘power’. timocracy (sense 1) reflects Aristotle's usage, timocracy (sense 2) Plato's.