Definition of oligopoly in US English:



  • A state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers.

    • ‘The most profound change to occur in the television industry in the 1980s and 1990s was the rise of competition to the network oligopoly from cable programmers.’
    • ‘That has made it easy for monopolies and oligopolies.’
    • ‘Mr Mosho said that commercial banks might be colluding making the market into an oligopoly with little benefit to the consumers.’
    • ‘ManufacturingCo competes in internationalised oligopolies in its core power systems businesses.’
    • ‘An oligopoly market is dominated by a small number of sellers who provide a large share of the total market output.’
    • ‘Anyone who knows anything about neoclassical microeconomics knows that consumers are at the mercy of privately-owned monopolies and oligopolies due to the lack of competition.’
    • ‘This would be a direct challenge to the market power of established oligopolies.’
    • ‘Industry consolidation and a trend toward market oligopoly have also marked the evolutionary paths of numerous other industries.’
    • ‘Google currently has the luxury of being inefficient because of its enviable position as the most powerful member of an oligopoly controlling an exploding market.’
    • ‘In both nations, the backbone service market is an oligopoly with dominant incumbents, so we rate them even.’
    • ‘The company's five biggest competitors had already signed up, but this firm - the sixth company in the industry oligopoly - was resisting the opportunity.’
    • ‘What drives our economy to switch from a period of innovation to oligopolies and lock ins?’
    • ‘Theoretically, Weber's method may hold for the market structures of full competition and monopoly, but in oligopolies, or competition among the few, at least a much more complicated concept of rationality seems to be warranted.’
    • ‘With limited competition, or oligopolies, the various players within a particular industry will most likely have different cost structures.’
    • ‘For the rest of the farming community, the future is precarious, with economic independence destroyed by market oligopolies, and by the decline in flexibility and choice which this entails.’
    • ‘But without the proper rules, healthy capitalist markets turn into sluggish oligopolies, and that is what's happening in media today.’
    • ‘Market concentration is economic power based on the level of monopoly or oligopoly that Chaebol affiliates hold in the markets of their respective areas of business.’
    • ‘The oligopoly concentrated on marketing and increasing engine power in the postwar decades, choking off European innovations like front-wheel drive, radial tires, and disk brakes.’
    • ‘By selling them, the government will be establishing essentially unregulated privately owned monopolies and oligopolies; and there are few things worse, economically speaking, than such beasts.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, liberalization raised competitive intensity across the globe by eliminating existing barriers to the movement of goods and money across borders that protected the market power of national oligopolies.’


Late 19th century: from oligo- ‘small number’, on the pattern of monopoly.