n. government by a few persons, especially by a small faction of persons or families
One small clique ran the student council: what had been intended as a democratic governing body had turned into an oligarchy.
Sentence in Classic:
The city, which was owned by an oligarchy of business men, being nominally ruled by the people, a huge army of graft was necessary for the purpose of effecting the transfer of power.
The Jungle By Upton Sinclair Context
For a Monarchy readily becomes a Tyranny, an Aristocracy an Oligarchy, while a Democracy tends to degenerate into Anarchy.
Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius By Niccolo Machiavelli Context
It is well understood here, that by the words Venice, England, we designate not the peoples, but social structures; the oligarchies superposed on nations, and not the nations themselves.
Les Misérables (V4) By Victor Hugo Context