Definition of anarchy in English:



  • 1A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems.

    ‘he must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy’
    • ‘He kept a diary of the events of the next 14 months as a first-hand witness to the chaos and anarchy of the Russian Revolution.’
    • ‘When you have people losing trust in the system it leads to anarchy.’
    • ‘The emerging system may look like anarchy to us, and it certainly looked like chaos to all the old civil servants in Germany.’
    • ‘This shift, from control to anarchy, also extended to Meirelles' directions for his actors.’
    • ‘Iraq is not a problem because of guerrillas, but because of anarchy and lawlessness.’
    • ‘Fail to control domestic anarchy and the economy becomes a laughing stock.’
    • ‘This is cultural chaos and online anarchy in the service of the baying mob.’
    • ‘Consider the unprecedented scenes of anarchy and chaos that engulfed Britain last Monday night.’
    • ‘If not repaired now it may become irreparable, and there is the danger of anarchy and chaos in India too.’
    • ‘He thought that if this system crumbled then anarchy and tyranny would prevail.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, a revolutionary insurrection by a disaffected Kentish mob threatens to bring anarchy to London.’
    • ‘I am not quite sure why it has avoided sliding into anarchy - the controls seem very lax.’
    • ‘Clowns are, in a sense, anarchic, but they also have to be sensitive as to where they create anarchy and chaos.’
    • ‘What does it mean that there is anarchy in the international system?’
    • ‘There was anarchy, chaos, gangs of armed and brutal thugs, panic, starvation and horror.’
    • ‘David Bedein paints a picture of growing anarchy and chaos as Abbas steadily loses control.’
    • ‘If the politicians don't come up with a fairer alternative to the current system, then anarchy is what we'll have.’
    • ‘Rebels advanced on the capital which erupted in anarchy and mayhem as armed gangs looted and fought each other on the streets.’
    • ‘The very idea of being able to control anarchy denies its nature.’
    • ‘We cannot afford to have such traffic anarchy and chaos on our roads.’
    lawlessness, absence of government, nihilism, mobocracy, revolution, insurrection, riot, rebellion, mutiny, disorder, disorganization, misrule, chaos, tumult, turmoil, mayhem, pandemonium
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  • 2Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

    • ‘Maybe anarchy is the only way, in moral if not practical terms.’
    • ‘It kinda seems an oxymoron but thinking about it, isn't anarchy just extreme liberalism?’
    • ‘The economic anarchy of capitalist society is the real source of the evil.’
    • ‘Under this bill, anything you'd write or say in favor of anarchy could land you to up to ten years in prison.’
    • ‘Or maybe Dr. Chaos really is the last hope of anarchy, and it's all a big lizard plot?’
    • ‘On Tocqueville's account, then, freedom of association and a free press do not promote anarchy.’
    • ‘In hundreds of pages they endeavoured to show just how democratic centralised Soviet anarchy was supposed to be.’
    • ‘I think direct democracy or anarchy may in fact be more subject to abuse than the representative type of democracies held up as the ideal now.’
    • ‘Many suppose that tyranny and anarchy are at opposite ends of a linear spectrum.’
    • ‘To adherents of realism, anarchy is the defining feature of relations among states.’
    • ‘As ways of organising a society go, I can only justify democracy and anarchy.’
    • ‘In other words, international anarchy based on sovereign states is a system of freedom for groups.’
    • ‘There are only two alternatives to a fair election, anarchy or dictatorship.’
    • ‘He presumably wants public anarchy funded by socialist tyranny, but that is another issue.’
    • ‘Opposed is the apparent liberalism, individualism and anarchy on offer in a postmodern world.’
    • ‘Now the human rights dilemmas of the twenty-first century proceed more from anarchy than from tyranny.’
    • ‘It means seizing the factories and offices with the aim of replacing the anarchy of the capitalist market by democratic planning.’
    • ‘This law never came into being as even the Nazi leaders realised that this law would create social anarchy.’
    • ‘In his book, Max Barry seems to be making the point that anarchy is not freedom.’
    • ‘If the world is thought of in terms of anarchy then power politics will be seen as the solution to the problem of insecurity.’


Mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos, from an- without + arkhos chief, ruler.