banana republic

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Coined by American author O. Henry in 1901 in his short story Money Maze, set in the fictional "Anchuria", which was based on his 1896–97 stay in Honduras.

Pronunciation[edit]

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Noun[edit]

banana republic (plural banana republics)

  1. (politics, idiomatic, derogatory) A small country, especially one in Central America or the West Indies, that is dependent on a single export commodity (traditionally bananas) and that has a corrupt, dictatorial government.
    Hypernym: kleptocracy
    • 1901 May 1, Henry, O., “Money Maze”, in Ainslee's Magazine[1], volume vii, number 4, New York, page 305:
      At that time we had a treaty with about every foreign country except Belgium, and that banana republic, Anchuria.
    • 2001, Cindy Forster, The Time of Freedom: Campesino Workers in Guatemala's October Revolution, University of Pittsburgh Press (→ISBN), page 117:
      The banana workers of this former banana republic were exceptionally well organized and effective in their demands from the very beginning of the revolution.

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