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a combining form occurring in loanwords from Greek (aristocracy; democracy); on this model used, with the meaning “rule,” “government,” “governing body,” to form abstract nouns from stems of other origin: mobocracy; bureaucracy.
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Compare -crat.

Origin of -cracy

<Middle French -cracie (now -cratie) <Late Latin -cratia<Greek -kratia, equivalent to krát(os) rule, strength, might (akin to hard) + -ia-y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -cracy mean?

The combining form -cracy is used like a suffix meaning “rule” or “government.” It is often used in technical terms, especially in sociology.

The form -cracy comes from Greek krátos, meaning “rule” and “strength.”

What are variants of -cracy?

While -cracy doesn’t have any variants, it is related to the form -crat, as in plutocrat. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use -crat article.

Examples of -cracy

An example of a familiar word that features -cracy is democracy, “government by the people.” Democracy comes from Greek dēmokratía, which uses the equivalent form of -cracy.

The demo- part of the word means “people,” from Greek dêmos, while the form -cracy means “government.” Democracy literally translates to “people’s government.”

What are some words that use the combining form -cracy?

What are some other forms that -cracy may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form gyno- means “woman” or “female.” With this in mind, what kind of government is a gynocracy?

British Dictionary definitions for -cracy


n combining form
indicating a type of government or ruleplutocracy; mobocracy See also -crat

Word Origin for -cracy

from Greek -kratia, from kratos power
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012