Header image of wall of bricks Open menu Close menu


Also ‑arch.

Government; rule of a particular type; a chief or ruler.

Greek arkhēs, ruler; arkhein, to rule.

Words in ‑archy are abstract nouns for types of government, leadership, or social influence or organization. They correspond to nouns in ‑arch for a person or people who rule or command in that way. For example, a monarch (Greek monos, alone or single) is a sovereign head of state, in a type of government called monarchy.

The ending is somewhat active, with terms being created for occasional use or wordplay, such as cupidarchy, a state built on cupidity, or ergonarchy (Greek ergon, work), one ruled by the work ethic.

For more examples, See also ‑cracy.

Examples of words in -archy
All word sources are Greek unless otherwise stated.


a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority, or absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal

an‑, without


a system of government by one person with absolute power

autos, self


a province of the Orthodox Church

epi, above, so ‘rule from above’


a system of authority in which members are ranked according to status

from hieros, sacred, since the earliest sense was that of a system of orders of angels and heavenly beings


a system of society or government ruled by a woman or women

Latin mater, mother, on a mistaken analogy with patriarchy


a state with a sovereign head of state, especially a king, queen, or emperor

monos, alone or single


a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution; a place or body so ruled

oligoi, few


government by the father or eldest male

patria, family


landowners collectively, especially when considered as a class having political or social influence

English squire


joint rule or government by two or more individuals or parties

sun‑, together

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Your comments are very welcome.