1 Government by the best citizens.
2 A ruling body composed of the best citizens. [Obs.] In the Senate Right not our quest in this, I will protest them To all the world, no aristocracy. B. Jonson.
3 A form a government, in which the supreme power is vested in the principal persons of a state, or in a privileged order; an oligarchy. The aristocracy of Venice hath admitted so many abuses, trough the degeneracy of the nobles, that the period of its duration seems approach. Swift.
4 The nobles or chief persons in a state; a privileged class or patrician order; (in a popular use) those who are regarded as superior to the rest of the community, as in rank, fortune, or intellect.