Word of the week

Word of the week: kakistocracy

A short “Word of the Week” today: kakistocracy, which means rule by those who are worst, or least suitable. It came up last week in a question on ITV’s quiz show “The Chase”.

This definition from dictionary.com tells us that it was first coined in 1829 as “government by the worst element of a society,” from the Greek kakistos “worst,” superlative of kakos “bad”. Aristocracy, by contrast, is derived from “aristos”, or Greek for “best”.

Some of these “Word of the Week” pieces are about words that have come up in a few different contexts in the weeks beforehand (like palimpsest and crummy) and others are triggered by a specific reference (like CamelCase and Breakonium). I have only come across kakistocracy once, thanks to a quiz show. I wonder when it will next appear in my day-to-day life.


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