Wednesday Word for October 7, 2020

Today’s word comes from the news.

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Today’s Word

Part of Speech

noun

Definition

  1. Government by the wealthy.
  2. A controlling class of the wealthy
  3. A class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.

History

This word was first used in 1631, as meaning government by the wealthy. It is from the Greek ploutokratia. Ploutos was Greek for “wealth”, and Plouton, or Pluto, was one of the names used for the Greek god of the underworld, where all the earth’s mineral wealth was stored. So a plutocracy governs or wields power through its money. The economic growth in the U.S. in the late 19th century produced a group of enormously wealthy plutocrats. Huge companies like John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil gained serious political power, and Rockefeller was able to influence lawmakers in states where his businesses operated. For this reason, it was said in 1905 that Ohio and New Jersey were plutocracies, not democracies.

~plutocracy

Synonyms

aristocracy, gentility, upper class

Antonyms

commoners, middle class, rabble

Usage and Examples

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Jack knew that now, more than ever, the country resembled a plutocracy, and he intended to take full advantage of all that money.
  • America today is a plutocracy, a society run in the interests of billionaires and millionaires.

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