From Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek, from anarchos having no ruler, from an- + archos ruler — more at arch-
First Known Use: 1539
a : absence of government
b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority
c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
a : absence or denial of any authority or established order
b : absence of order : disorder
See anarchy defined for English-language learners »
See anarchy defined for kids »
Anarchy reigned in the empire's remote provinces.
When the teacher was absent, there was anarchy in the classroom.
Its immigration policies in the last five years have become the envy of those in the West who see in all but the most restrictive laws the specter of terrorism and social anarchy. —Caroline Moorehead, New York Review of Books, 16 Nov. 2006