Word of the Day: Timocracy  (noun)

Pronunciation: [ti-‘mah-krê-si]

Definition: Plato considered timocracy government by principles of honor. To Aristotle it was a government in which the ownership of property is a prerequisite for holding office.

Usage: The adjective for today’s word is “timocratic” [ti-mê-‘kræt-ik] and the adverb is “timocratically.” The plural is “timocracies.”

Suggested Usage: We are likely to see a government run by officials all with the name “Tim” before we see one run by officials driven by the love of honor and public service. The costs of political campaigns have reached such heights that we are approaching a timocracy in the Aristotelian sense in US, where only the wealthy can achieve national political office.

Etymology: The ambiguity in today’s word begins with its root, Greek word “time” [‘tee-me] which means “honor” when applied to people and “value” or “price” when applied to things. Now since kratia means “governance,” the compound could mean “governance by price” or “government by honor,” a familiar confusion in politics to this day. A diluted version of the same ambiguity can be found today in the Slavic descendent of the same root, e.g. Russian cena [tsi’na], which means both “price” and “value.”
–Dr. Language, yourDictionary.com