• WordNet 3.6
    • n aristocracy the most powerful members of a society
    • n aristocracy a privileged class holding hereditary titles
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Aristocracy 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."
    • Aristocracy 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 ."
    • Aristocracy Government by the best citizens.
    • Aristocracy 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.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n aristocracy Government by the best men in the state; a governing body composed of the best men in the state.
    • n aristocracy A form of government in which the supreme power is exercised by those members of the state who are distinguished by their rank and opulence. When the ruling power is exercised by a very few of this class to the exclusion of all others, the government becomes an oligarchy.
    • n aristocracy A body of persons holding exceptional prescriptive rank or privileges; specifically, a class of hereditary nobility; the nobles of a country and those nearly related to them.
    • n aristocracy Persons noted for superiority in any character or quality, taken collectively: as, the aristocracy of wealth or of culture.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Aristocracy ar-is-tok′ras-i government by the men of best birth or condition: political power of a privileged order: the nobility or chief persons of a state: the upper classes generally, also the persons noted for superiority in any quality, taken collectively—also Aristarch′y (rare)
    • ***


  • Thomas Jefferson
    “There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.”
  • Georg C. Lichtenberg
    “Actual aristocracy cannot be abolished by any law: all the law can do is decree how it is to be imparted and who is to acquire it.”
  • Nancy Mitford
    Nancy Mitford
    “An aristocracy in a republic is like a chicken whose head has been cut off: it may run about in a lively way, but in fact it is dead.”
  • Wendell Phillips
    “Aristocracy is always cruel.”
  • Gilbert K. Chesterton
    “Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.”
  • James B. Connant
    James B. Connant
    “Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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.
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. aristos, best, and kratos, power.


In literature:

They were its aristocracy.
"Mizora: A Prophecy" by Mary E. Bradley
The Aristocracy drink almost to a man; so do the Middle Class; so do the Clergy; so alas!
"Glances at Europe" by Horace Greeley
Even science was condemned as aristocracy of knowledge.
"The World's Greatest Books--Volume 14--Philosophy and Economics" by Various
There is every appearance of an aristocracy among these humble creatures.
"Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, November, 1878" by Various
In France, it is admirable to witness the fusion of the aristocracies of family, money, and intelligence.
"Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851" by Various
Aristocracy of England, the, 51.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 54, No. 338, December 1843" by Various
The house was the representative of the protestant aristocracy and was completely out of touch with the mass of the people.
"The Political History of England - Vol. X." by William Hunt
The government of Sparta thus became an aristocracy or oligarchy.
"Historic Tales, vol 10 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
He is a member of the higher aristocracy.
"The Contemporary Review, January 1883" by Various
We must have more Wisdom to govern us, we must be governed by the Wisest, we must have an Aristocracy of Talent!
"Past and Present" by Thomas Carlyle
This can be done only by the extermination of its landed aristocracy, that their mothers shall not breed another race of traitors.
"The Clansman" by Thomas Dixon
He knew that the aristocracy feared and hated him.
"Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 1 of 8" by Various
For these reforms the old aristocracy of his State denounced him as a Jacobin, and the established church denounced him as an infidel.
"Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 4 of 8" by Various
As you say, it's kind of what you might call inspiring to belong to the old Pilgrim aristocracy.
"Free Air" by Sinclair Lewis
He is probably a member of the aristocracy.
"The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde
And Auberon Herbert was an extraordinarily typical English aristocrat of the old and genuine aristocracy.
"What I Saw in America" by G. K. Chesterton
Aristocracy, properly so called, is an aristocracy in the flesh.
"The Cult of Incompetence" by Emile Faguet
For a time, the resistance of the local aristocracy was overcome.
"Belgium" by Emile Cammaerts
Here was one of the upper ten thousand, the real flower of British aristocracy.
"Colorado Jim" by George Goodchild
There is nothing so pernicious in the world as a pauper aristocracy.
"Marion Fay" by Anthony Trollope

In poetry:

Proclaimed our weakness, not its source.
What medicine for disease had he?
Whom summoned for a show of force?
Our titular aristocracy!
"Lines To A Friend Visiting America" by George Meredith
Your children are objects of pity,
Aristocracy christen them "brats;"
They are kicked here and there o’er the city
Like spaniels or troublesome rats!
"The Misanthrope's Reverie" by Joseph Warren Watson
It is not homage paid to honours worn
Lightly, as that which comes to one unsought;
Nor to thy high desent, oh nobly born
Nor to the aristocracy of thought.
"Farewell To Lord And Lady Dufferin" by Nora Pembroke
Perhaps you have a turn for what
Is known as "misappropriation,"
Attractions this has doubtless got
For persons of a certain station,
But prevalent 'twill never be
Among the aristocracy.
"The Cat" by Harry Graham

In news:

How does it feel to be a member of the aristocracy.
Peasants continued to subsist on cracked rice, while the aristocracy feasted on the new dish.
Says the Republican Party Wants a 'Permanent Aristocracy.
The Republican Party are looking to create a permanent aristocracy.
Michael Stipe , Tom Gilroy Strike Back Against GOP 'Aristocracy'.
The Thracians , ruled by a powerful warrior aristocracy rich in gold treasures, inhabited an area extending over modern Romania and Bulgaria, northern Greece and the European part of Turkey from as early as 4,000 BC.
They were both sons of aristocracy, both dreaming with the moon in their eyes.
Conceived as a playground for the American aristocracy, the house has been newly restored by Sam White, the great-grandson of the original architect, Stanford White.
Their work is based on claims among some Bolivarianólogos, as specialists here on the history of Bolívar are called, that a long-lost letter by Bolívar reveals how he was betrayed by Colombia's aristocracy.
Sure, Hollywood's liberal aristocracy has much to celebrate with these two left-leaning.
The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy.
The End of the Russian Aristocracy.
Pittsfield's Pease crashes the IHSA Heavyweight Wrestling Aristocracy.
Took it on himself to integrate what for years had been a shining example of a launching pad for the Irish Catholic aristocracy.
Several days of unprecedented revolt by the most impoverished minority-populated neighborhoods of London have shaken the normally staid and reserved British aristocracy.