Go to 'thermo-' entry Go to 'dino-' entry Go to 'chondro-' entry Go to 'aero-' entry Go to '-logy' entry Go to 'thaumato-' entry Go to 'nano-' entry Go to '-sophy' entry Go to 'bucco-' entry Go to '-ism' entry Go to '-lysis' entry Go to 'galacto-' entry Go to '-anthropy' entry Go to 'pneumo-' entry Go to '-ploitation' entry Go to '-lithic' entry Go to '-sepalous' entry Go to 'onco-' entry Go to '-parous' entry Go to 'dermato-' entry Go to 'multi-' entry Go to 'dodeca-' entry Go to '-zoon' entry Go to 'vermi-' entry Go to 'crystallo-' entry Go to 'biblio-' entry Go to 'eco-' entry Go to 'juxta-' entry Go to 'facio-' entry
Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-archy Also -arch.

Government; rule of a particular type; a chief or ruler.

[Greek arkhēs, ruler; arkhein, to rule.]

Words in -archy are abstract nouns for types of government, leadership, or social influence or organization. They correspond to nouns in -arch for a person or people who rule or command in that way. For example, a monarch (Greek monos, alone or single) is a sovereign head of state, in a type of government called monarchy.

The ending is somewhat active, with terms being created for occasional use or wordplay, such as cupidarchy, a state built on cupidity, or ergonarchy (Greek ergon, work), one ruled by the work ethic.

For more examples, See also -cracy.

Examples of words in -archy
All word sources are Greek unless otherwise stated.

anarchy a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority, or absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal an-, without
autarchy a system of government by one person with absolute power autos, self
eparchy a province of the Orthodox Church epi, above, so ‘rule from above’
hierarchy a system of authority in which members are ranked according to status from hieros, sacred, since the earliest sense was that of a system of orders of angels and heavenly beings
matriarchy a system of society or government ruled by a woman or women Latin mater, mother, on a mistaken analogy with patriarchy
monarchy a state with a sovereign head of state, especially a king, queen, or emperor monos, alone or single
oligarchy a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution; a place or body so ruled oligoi, few
patriarchy government by the father or eldest male patria, family
squirearchy landowners collectively, especially when considered as a class having political or social influence English squire
synarchy joint rule or government by two or more individuals or parties sun-, together

Visit Michael Quinion’s World Wide Words site for 2000+ articles on English!

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Page last updated 23 September 2008.
Your comments and suggestions on the site are very welcome.