aristocracy


aristocracy
aristocracy 1 plutocracy, *oligarchy
2 Aristocracy, nobility, gentry, county, elite, society denote a body of persons who constitute a socially superior caste.
Aristocracy often refers to an ideally superior caste and therefore does not invariably apply to a fixed or definite group of persons
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there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents— Jefferson

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Usually the term connotes superiority in birth, breeding, and social station and is applicable to all those persons generally recognized as first in family and in personal importance
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he comes of the Brahmin caste of New England. This is the harmless, inoffensive, untitled aristocracyHolmes

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However, in countries where there is a privileged and titled class, the nobility, aristocracy is often used to designate the same group with this difference in implication: that nobility stresses rank inferior to that of royalty but superior to that of all other classes, and aristocracy stresses the possession of power over the people through ownership of land and through long-established and generally acknowledged superiority
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the word cousin in the mouth or from the pen of a royalty signified a recognition of rank superior to nobilityBelloc

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the distinguishing characteristic of an aristocracy is the enjoyment of privileges which are not communicable to other citizens simply by anything they can themselves do to obtain them— Hallam}However, nobility in British use does not include titled commoners (as baronets and knights). These latter are thought of as members of the aristocracy.}}

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Gentry and county are distinctively British terms applied to a class, essentially a leisured class, who by birth and breeding can be described as gentlemen (in the technical sense) and ladies but who are without hereditary title and are classed as commoners. In British use gentry refers to a class in rank just below the nobility but often having in its membership persons of equally high birth or breeding. County, however, carries a suggestion of an association of the family with the county or section and usually of ownership of an estate in the country
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the gentry and the nobility were on friendliest terms

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the newcomers were slow in being accepted by the county

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the advantage claimed for this plan is that it provides us with a gentry: that is, with a class of rich people able to cultivate themselves by an expensive education— Shaw

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Elite is referable not to a social rank but to those members of any group or class who stand out as its flower or the ones most frequently sought after
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the elite of the nobility

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few others of the mathematical eliteDarrow

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When used without qualification elite usually means the group regarded as the highest, especially as judged by social or cultural standards
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it is the business of the college to produce an elite—superior men— North American Review

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Society is applied to that portion of a community which marks itself apart as a leisured class much given to formal entertainments, fashionable sports, and other pursuits characteristic of an active social life
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society is now one polished horde, formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored— Byron

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there are only about four hundred people in New York SocietyMcAllister

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Antonyms: people, proletariat

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Aristocracy — is a form of government, where rule is established through an internal struggle over who has the most status and influence over society and internal relations. Power is maintained by a hereditary elite, from a caste, class, family (dynasty or… …   Wikipedia

  • Aristocracy — 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • aristocracy — [ar΄i stä′krə sē, er΄i stä′krə sē] n. pl. aristocracies [L aristocratia < Gr aristokratia < aristos, best + kratia, rule < kratos, power, rule: see HARD] 1. Historical government by the best citizens 2. government by a privileged… …   English World dictionary

  • aristocracy — index elite, society Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • aristocracy — (n.) 1560s, from M.Fr. aristocracie (Mod.Fr. aristocratie), from L.L. aristocratia, from Gk. aristokratia government or rule of the best, from aristos best (originally most fitting, from PIE *ar isto , superlative form of *ar to fit together; see …   Etymology dictionary

  • aristocracy — [n] privileged class, government elite, gentility, gentry, haut monde, high society, nobility, noblesse, patricians, patriciate, peerage, society, upper class, upper crust*; concepts 296,423 Ant. commoners, plebites, proletariat …   New thesaurus

  • aristocracy — ► NOUN (pl. aristocracies) ▪ a class comprising people of noble birth with hereditary titles. ORIGIN Greek aristokratia, from aristos best + kratia power …   English terms dictionary

  • aristocracy — /ar euh stok reuh see/, n., pl. aristocracies. 1. a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges, esp. the hereditary nobility. 2. a government or state ruled by an aristocracy, elite, or privileged upper class. 3. government by those …   Universalium

  • Aristocracy —    A landed aristocracy existed throughout Byzantine history. However, the basis of landholding changed from the more familiar pattern of Late Roman times, with its large estates and numerous coloni (q.v.), peasants bound to the soil, to the… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • aristocracy — UK [ˌærɪˈstɒkrəsɪ] / US [ˌerəˈstɑkrəsɪ] noun [countable] Word forms aristocracy : singular aristocracy plural aristocracies the people in the highest class of society, who usually have money, land, and power and who often have special titles,… …   English dictionary


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