A small number; having few.
[Greek oligos, small, oligoi, few.]
An oligarchy is a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution. An oligopoly was formed on the pattern of monopoly and is a state in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers (the opposite situation, in which there are few buyers, is called oligopsony, from Greek opsōnein, buy provisions). Several terms in biochemistry refer to molecules which contain a relatively small number of component units, such as oligopeptide, a peptide whose molecules contain a relatively small number of amino acid units.