banana republic

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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.


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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, O. Henry, “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.


Further reading[edit]



Unadapted borrowing from English banana republic.


banana republic f (invariable)

  1. (rare, politics, idiomatic, derogatory) banana republic
    Synonym: repubblica delle banane