Rule or government exclusively by an upper class or elite. Traditionally in history, this upper class was permanent, by inheritance from one's father, and therefore unearned and not "meritocratic" (see MERITOCRACY). Syn: OLIGARCHY (rule or government by only a special few). Ant: DEMOCRACY (rule by all the people through voting.) Related: PLUTOCRACY (rule by a special few because they are the richest). Also related: MONARCHY—rule by a single chief executive who inherits the right to rule; related to EMPIRE, rule by an emperor. Note: a REPUBLIC, in the modern sense, is a semi-democratic government because we do not necessarily vote on all laws and policies, but rather elect REPRESENTATIVES who use their judgment to decide FOR us; thus, the Constitution of the U.S. sets up a REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY, also known as a REPUBLIC. In 1787, this Republic was perhaps as aristocratic as it was democratic, but Constitutional Amendments (such as the 13th Amendment banning slavery and the 19th Amendment granting the vote to women), has made our nation less aristocratic and more democratic. A related noun form of aristocracy is ARISTOCRAT; an adjective form is ARISTOCRATIC. When spoken, the stress changes as follows: "A ri STOC' racy" (stress on 3rd syllable), but "a RIST' ocratic" (2nd syllable) Also related: SLAVOCRACY—an aristocracy ruled by slave owners (slavocrats) as in the pre-civil war South. Variety, and the value of seeing different kinds of people in a society as positive. "There is a great diversity of races and religions in a free country." Adj: Diverse. Related: Heterogeneous (having great diversity) and homogeneous (having just one kind of person and no diversity.) Also, heterogeneity and homogeneity (diversity and the lack of diversity.) Related: PLURALISM: the belief that diversity is desirable; and its opposite, PREJUDICE—the assumption that differences are not good and the tendency to "pre-judge" people who are different as bad. The adjective form of PREJUDICE, to describe a biased or bigoted person, is PREJUDICED (note the "ed") "A civilized, democratic person values DIVERSITY, but bigots are prejudiced." Also related: "E PLURIBUS, UNUM"—Latin, "From Many, One [Nation]"