top of page
The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce oligarch (audio)

Dictionary definition of oligarch

An extremely rich business leader with a great deal of political influence, especially from Russia.
"The oligarch used their wealth and power to influence government policy."

Detailed meaning of oligarch

The term is often used to describe a small group of powerful individuals or families who control a significant portion of a country's economic, political, or social resources. Oligarchs can be found in both capitalist and socialist societies and they can accumulate their wealth and power through various means such as inheritance, business, and political connections.

In a political context, an oligarch is often associated with a form of government known as an oligarchy, in which power is held by a small group of people, rather than by the people as a whole. An oligarchy can be distinguished from a democracy, in which power is held by the citizens through elected representatives. In an oligarchy, the ruling elite may use their wealth and power to influence the political process and maintain their privileged position, often to the detriment of the general population.

Oligarchs can also be found in the business sector, where they use their wealth and influence to gain control of key industries and manipulate market conditions to their advantage. The term "oligarchy" is also used in a broader sense to describe any situation in which a small group of people holds a disproportionate amount of power and influence over a society.

Example sentences containing oligarch

1. The oligarch's influence extended into multiple sectors of the economy.
2. An oligarch funded the new art museum that just opened downtown.
3. The local government was closely tied to a prominent oligarch.
4. The yacht at the marina belongs to a Russian oligarch.
5. The oligarch had a well-guarded estate in the countryside.
6. His rise to being an oligarch was shrouded in controversy.

History and etymology of oligarch

The noun 'oligarch' has its etymological roots in two Greek words, 'oligos,' meaning 'few,' and 'arkhein,' meaning 'to rule' or 'to govern.' When combined, they form 'oligarkhēs,' which in ancient Greece referred to a person who belonged to a select few that held significant political power and influence. In modern usage, particularly in the context of Russia and some other post-Soviet states, an 'oligarch' is an extremely wealthy business leader who wields substantial political influence. The term became prominent in the 1990s during the transition from communism to capitalism in Russia, where a small group of individuals amassed significant wealth and political clout. The etymology of 'oligarch' underscores its historical connection to the idea of a privileged few who hold power and control, aligning with the modern understanding of wealthy individuals with political sway.

Quiz: Find the meaning of oligarch

Try Again!


Further usage examples of oligarch

1. The newspaper exposed an oligarch's involvement in illegal activities.
2. That soccer team is owned by an oligarch with a love for sports.
3. An oligarch donated millions to the ruling political party.
4. He started as a small business owner and became an oligarch.
5. The oligarch had diverse investments, from tech to real estate.
6. Critics argue that the oligarch wields too much political influence.
7. The oligarch's daughter was the focus of many tabloid stories.
8. A scandal erupted when an oligarch was found bribing officials.
9. The oligarch faced sanctions for his questionable business practices.
10. An oligarch was seen at the charity event, sparking rumors.
11. Despite being an oligarch, he lived a relatively modest lifestyle.
12. The oligarch's company was the main sponsor of the event.
13. An upcoming movie will explore the life of a famed oligarch.
14. The oligarch sat in the VIP section during the concert.
15. He was criticized for being too close to a powerful oligarch.
16. The investigation revealed the oligarch's offshore accounts.
17. A book about the oligarch’s rise to power became a bestseller.
18. The oligarch had strong opinions on foreign policy matters.
19. His friendship with an oligarch raised questions about conflicts of interest.
20. Many saw the oligarch as a symbol of income inequality.
21. An oligarch was accused of manipulating the stock market.
22. The oligarch's private jet was a subject of media fascination.
23. A recent report linked the oligarch to several corruption cases.
24. The oligarch financed the construction of a new university building.



plutocrat, commoner, proletarian, pauper


Ambition and Drive, Aspiration and Ambition, Competition and Rivalry, Dominance and Supremacy, Strength and Resilience, Wealth and Desire

bottom of page