-cracy Also -crat, -cratic, and -cratical.
Government, rule, or influence.
[Greek -kratia, power or rule.]
Many terms in -cracy have been coined, though only a small number are at all well known; most can mean either a system of influence or rule or a society so ruled, as with democracy, rule through elected representatives; a few can also refer to the rulers as a group, as with aristocracy (Greek aristos, best), rule by members of the highest social class.
The form is active, used to create words for influential groups with characteristics in common: punditocracy, media commentators; adhocracy, a loose group of influential advisers; meritocracy, government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their educational ability.
All can have associated adjectives in -cratic (bureaucratic, meritocratic), and nouns in -crat for a member of the relevant class or group (aristocrat, autocrat). A few can also have adjectives in -cratical (aristocratical, democratical), but these are much rarer than the corresponding forms in -cratic.
Examples of words in -cracy
|aristocracy||rule by the highest social class||Greek aristos, best|
|autocracy||rule by one person with absolute power||Greek autos, self|
|bureaucracy||government in which officials take most of the decisions||French bureau, office|
|democracy||rule by all citizens||Greek dēmos, the people|
|gerontocracy||rule by old people||Greek gerōn, old man|
|mediocracy||rule by mediocre people or a system in which mediocrity is rewarded||Latin mediocris, middling|
|meritocracy||rule by those selected on the basis of ability||English merit|
|mobocracy||rule by the mob||English mob|
|plutocracy||rule by the rich||Greek ploutos, wealth|
|technocracy||control of society by technical experts||English technology|
|teledemocracy||democracy mediated or operated by telecommunications or television||Greek tēle-, far off.|
|thalassocracy||rule over the seas||Greek thal, sea|
|theocracy||rule by priests||Greek theos, God|