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From Middle French ochlocratie, from Ancient Greek ὀχλοκρατία (okhlokratía), from ὄχλος (ókhlos, multitude, crowd) + κράτος (krátos, power).[1][2]



ochlocracy (plural ochlocracies)

  1. Mob rule; government by the masses; mobocracy. [from 1475–1485.]
    • 2016 July 1, A[nthony] C[lifford] Grayling, “Professor A C Grayling’s letter to all 650 MPs urging Parliament not to support a motion to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty”, in New College of the Humanities[1], archived from the original on 2 July 2016:
      Referendums are snapshots of sentiment at a given point in time. Government by referendum is government by crowd acclamation: not democracy, but ochlocracy. That is exactly why we have representative democracy. If referendums would be a poor way to decide on health and safety, air traffic control, or education, they are an exceedingly poor way to decide a matter as momentous as membership of the EU. This is and should be a matter for Parliament, taking all factors into account.

Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ ochlocracy. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved February 27, 2007, from website:
  2. ^ ochlocracy. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved February 27, 2007, from website: