from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a socio-economic system based on private property rights, including the private ownership of resources or capital, with economic decisions made largely through the operation of a market unregulated by the state.
  • n. a socio-economic system based on the abstraction of resources into the form of privately-owned capital, with economic decisions made largely through the operation of a market unregulated by the state.
  • n. a specific variation or implementation of either such socio-economic system.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An economic system based on predominantly private (individual or corporate) investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of goods and wealth; contrasted with socialism or especially communism, in which the state has the predominant role in the economy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of having capital or property; possession of capital.
  • n. The concentration or massing of capital in the hands of a few; also, the power or influence of large or combined capital.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an economic system based on private ownership of capital


From French capitalisme ("the condition of one who is rich"). First used in English by novelist William Thackeray in 1854. (Wiktionary)



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  • I have enough expertise in politics and history to understand that a free market ends up as monopoly unless you force them to be free.

    WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical.

    December 4, 2010

  • "“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.�? - Fran Lebowitz

    March 17, 2009

  • "The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business." - Clarence S. Darrow

    July 30, 2008