The English suffix -cracy
means a form of government
or a state
having such government
. It is derived from the ancient Greek kratein
, meaning "to rule". Typically, the suffix is encountered in distinguishing between the following different forms of government:
- adhocracy — decentralized rule.
- aristocracy — literally rule by the best; in modern usage, rule by the upper class/by those with a birth-right to rule.
- autocracy — (ultimate, despotic) rule by a single individual - literally self-rule, rule by oneself. The distinction between a monarchy and an autocracy is that the latter is one in which power overshadows bloodline or a divine right to rule. Note: Many dictatorships are autocracies, but it is not true to say that a dictatorship is automatically an autocracy.
- democracy — literally rule by the people; usually rule by elected/nominated representatives of the people.
- ecclesiocracy — rule in the name of God.
- geniocracy — rule by geniuses.
- hierocracy — rule by priests or religious ministers.
- krytocracy — rule by the judiciary (compare with kritarchy).
- meritocracy — rule upon the basis of ability (merit).
- ochlocracy — mob rule
- plutocracy — rule by the affluent class.
- theocracy — rule by God.
Other words with this suffix include: