separation of powers

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Coined by the French Age of Enlightenment philosopher Montesquieu (1689–1755).


separation of powers (countable and uncountable, plural separations of powers)

  1. A theoretical model for governance, common in democratic states, which features the division of sovereign power into at least three (but sometimes up to six) organs of state in order to forestall tyranny, by preventing the acquisition of a monopoly of power by a monarch or oligarchy; also, such an arrangement.