[Representative French -cratie, medieval Latin -catia, Greek -kratia power, rule (kratos strength, authority.]
In or forming nouns referring to types of government or ruling class, as democracy, aristocracy, etc.
From the o which regularly precedes the suffix in words of Greek origin a form -ocracy has been inferred which has been added to certain English word (mainly in none-formations), as meritocracy.
If knowledge is power, then knowledge of the words of power is ... well ... very interesting. As alluded to in the OED's definition, there's a plethora of fanciful -cracy and -ocracy words out there, but here is a confirmed list that are found in the OED, so you can use them confidently (indeed, authoritatively), knowing that they are indeed real words to describe your dissatisfaction with the ruling classes.
An informal, flexible form of governance in place of a rigid bureaucracy.
Government ruled or dominated by men.
Virtually every government in history has been some form of androcracy.
Apparently it's the government of the 'best' (Greek aristos best, noblest).
Unfortunately, this has historically been interpreted as governance by those holding hereditary titles.
One person (typically a man) that holds absolute power.
Government by desk, in which the important decisions are made by state officials and public servants, rather than elected representatives.
When corporations wield the real power, it's a corporatocracy.
A favourite with dystopian fiction writers and conspiracy theorists.
The power of the cotton lords.
The is mainly a pre-Civil War American South thing, y'all.
Yay! Government by the people, for the people! And it always works like that, right?
Often combined with androcracy, bureaucracy, meritocracy, plutocracy and kleptocracy.
Governance by old people.
Popularly combined with androcracy, aristocracy, hierocracy and theocracy.
Rule by women.
There haven't been many examples of this throughout history.
Also known as a gynarchy.
Rule by priests or a priestly class.
Commonly combined with androcracy and theocracy.
Rulership by dirty rotton thieves who bleed their subjects dry.
Commonly combined with any form of government by humans.
Government by those chosen according to merit, especially those who are able and educated.
Rule by the people, the hoi polloi, the canaille, the common folk, etc.
Power to the people, man. Yeah!
Government by just one person (usually a man).
A slighter posher way of saying mobocracy.
A utopian governmental structure in which all are equal in social position and responsibility.
Nothing to do with pants or panties, unfortunately.
When plantation owners wielded the real power.
This was seen in the colonial days of the New World, especially in the West Indies.
Government by the wealthy.
Commonly combined with kleptocracy.
When experts and social commentators wield significant power, it's a punditocracy.
Government by military forces.
The government or control of society or industry by an elite of technical experts.
God rules (or at least a god rules).
Commonly combined with gerontocracy, hierocracy and androcracy.
Power is held by the land and property owners.
There are many others, of course, though I can't guarantee their usage. Some of the more interesting, bizarre and fun forms of government include:
More idiots. In power. Ruling like idiots.
Government by the inept.
Government by the worst or least qualified citizens.
Commonly combined with aristocracy and plutocracy.
Government by pedants.
Sounds like a laugh, but in reality this usually leads to a bureaucracy.
Government by prostitutes, or one in which prostitutes wield a lot of power.
Commonly combined with hierocracy, theocracy and aristocracy.
A government of ... well ... proktos is Greek for 'anus', so you can work it out.
Commonly combined with every other sort of government.
Government by someone that's dead.
When image is everything.
Commonly combined with democracy.
What's your favourite -cracy?
Do please leave your most authoritative comments in the box below.