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Ancient Greek κάκιστος ‎(kákistos, worst), superlative of κακός ‎(kakós, bad) + -κρατια ‎(-kratia, power, rule, government).


  • IPA(key): /kækɪsˈtɑkɹəsi/


kakistocracy ‎(plural kakistocracies)

  1. Government under the control of a nation's worst or least-qualified citizens.
    • 1894, James Russell Lowell, Letters of James Russell Lowell - To Joel Benton [1876], p.159:
      Is ours a "government of the people, by the people, for the people," or a kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?
    • 1999, Gang Deng, The Premodern Chinese Economy: Structural Equilibrium and Capitalist Sterility:
      Thus, the problem was not whether corruption/power abuse was allowed, but how to keep a balance between uprightness and kakistocracy.
    • 2000, Tom H. Hastings, Ecology of War and Peace: Counting the Cost of Conflict:
      Some nation-states have suffered what the Greeks called kakistocracy—government by the worst of men. International law can, in theory if not always in practice, keep these kakistocracies from damaging too much.


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