Quick Summary

The Greek root word crat means “rule,” and the English suffix -cracy means “rule by.” This Greek root and suffix is the word origin of a good number of English vocabulary words, including the familiar terms democrat and democracy. The Greek root word crat and suffix -cracy are easily recalled through these two English words, “democracy” meaning “rule by” the people, and “democrat” being someone who specifically supports “rule” by the people.

Crazy "Crat" Creates Rulers

The Greek word crat means “rule,” and the corresponding suffix -cracy means “rule by.” Here follows a good sampling of different types of “rulerships” throughout the world, all containing the suffix -cracy and root word crat.

We all know that a democracy is “rule by” the people; the word democrat was originally formed to indicate a member of government who supports “rule” by the people, the democratic principle of government. The ancient Greeks were the founders of democracy, or “rule by” the people, but interestingly enough firmly believed that the democratic system of government could not work with more than ten-thousand people.

There are many other types of “rule” throughout world government systems. Let’s continue with more types of government instituted by the ancient Greeks.

The Greek philosopher Plato authored a literary work called The Republic in which he discussed the various best forms of government. Plato wrote that the top form of government was the aristocracy, or “rule by” the best. The Philosopher King was considered to be that aristocrat or best “ruler,” but only became that way after he had gone through many, many years of training in order to be able to “rule” wisely and justly. The original lofty conception of the aristocrat as the state’s best possible “ruler” significantly degraded after the writing of The Republic, and finally became simply “rule” by those who had royal blood and/or a lot of money, things which made them the “best” rulers by default. The second best form of the Greek system of government was the timocracy, or “rule by” those who either owned property or were ranking members of the military; both Plato and Aristotle discussed the timocracy, which was a decided step down from the pure aristocrat since the timocrat was never actually trained in how to rule civilians as the Philosopher King was.

There are many, many different systems of rule that we could talk about at length. Here are some of the more popular ones:

A plutocracy is led by plutocrats. A plutocracy is “rule by” the wealthy, named after the god Pluto, who was not only the god of the underworld but also, thereby, the god of wealth, for wealth in the form of precious metals and jewels is found under the ground. Hence, a plutocrat is a wealthy person who “rules” over others.

A bureaucracy is led by bureaucrats, or government officials who tend to be very strict with rules and sticking to them, and thus are “rulers” who are sticklers for following administrative “rules.”

A technocracy is “rule by” technical experts. Such technocrats are bureaucrats who have a large amount of training in some form of technology or engineering.

An autocracy, led by a single autocrat, is the “rule by” an all-powerful single “ruler” over a country, much like in a dictatorship.

A thalassocracy, led by thalassocrats, is a “rule by” a superior naval power over a wide area of the sea or oceans. Examples of historical thallassocracies include the Phoenicians and the Minoans.

A gynocracy, led by gynocrats, is a “rule by” women alone, whereas an androcracy, led by androcrats, is “rule by” men alone.

In comparison to the aristocracy, or “rule by” the best, the kakistocracy, led by kakistocrats, is “rule by” the worst. Some of you may think that the kakistocracy is alive and well in some parts of the world today! A type of kakistocracy is clearly the kleptocracy, or “rule by” thieves. Beware of kleptocrats!!

You, too, can now be the “ruler” of both the Greek root word crat and its corresponding suffix -cracy. Just don’t get too “crazy” politically!

  1. democracy: “rule by” the people
  2. democrat: one who supports people “ruling”
  3. democratic: relating to “rule” by the people
  4. aristocracy: “rule by” the best
  5. aristocrat: the best “ruler”
  6. timocracy: “rule by” people who own property, or military leaders
  7. timocrat: “ruler” in a timocracy
  8. plutocracy: “rule by” the wealthy
  9. plutocrat: “ruler” who is wealthy
  10. bureaucracy: “rule by” administrative officials
  11. bureaucrat: one who “rules” as an administrative official
  12. technocracy: “rule by” those with technical know-how
  13. technocrat: “ruler” with technical expertise
  14. autocracy: “rule by” a single, all-powerful person
  15. autocrat: a single, all-powerful “ruler”
  16. thalassocracy: “rule by” a naval power
  17. thalassocrat: a “ruler” in a naval power
  18. gynocracy: a “rule by” women
  19. gynocrat: a woman who “rules”
  20. androcracy: a “rule by” men
  21. androcrat: a man who “rules”
  22. kakistrocracy: a “rule by” the worst
  23. kakistrocrat: a very bad “ruler”
  24. kleptocracy: a “rule by” thieves
  25. kleptocrat: a thief who “rules”


  • autocratic

    An autocratic person rules with complete power; consequently, they make decisions and give orders to people without asking them for their opinion or advice.

  • democratic

    Democratic government is based on the idea that all people are equal; therefore, a country’s people should help decide how to rule it.

  • aristocrat

    a member of the aristocracy

  • autocrat

    a cruel and oppressive dictator

  • bureaucrat

    an official of a bureaucracy

  • democrat

    a member of the Democratic Party

  • plutocrat

    someone who exercises power by virtue of wealth

  • technocrat

    an expert who is a member of a highly skilled elite group

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