Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828)

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Aristocracy (Page: 81)

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. .]

1. Government by the best citizens.

2. A ruling body composed of the best citizens. [Obs.]

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

3. 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.

4. 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.