Ar`is*toc"ra*cy (#), n.; pl. Aristocracies (#). [Gr. ; best + to be strong, to rule, strength; is perh. from the same root as E. arm, and orig. meant fitting: cf. F. aristocratie. See Arm, and Create, which is related to Gr. .]


Government by the best citizens.


A ruling body composed of the best citizens.


In the Senate Right not our quest in this, I will protest them To all the world, no aristocracy. B. Jonson.


A form a government, in which the supreme power is vested in the principal persons of a state, or in a privileged order; an oligarchy.

The aristocracy of Venice hath admitted so many abuses, trough the degeneracy of the nobles, that the period of its duration seems approach. Swift.


The nobles or chief persons in a state; a privileged class or patrician order; (in a popular use) those who are regarded as superior to the rest of the community, as in rank, fortune, or intellect.


© Webster 1913.