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October 14, 2019

Word of the Day: Oligopsony

2 CQ

Word of the Day : January 3, 2017

oligopsony \ah-luh-GAHP-suh-nee\ noun


: a market situation in which each of a few buyers exerts a disproportionate influence on the market


The small number of supermarkets in the region has created an oligopsony in which the stores can dictate the price they pay to farmers for meat and fresh produce.

"Under the crude oil export ban, domestic refineries were granted an oligopsony. Now oil companies will have more pricing power, which stands to boost their profits even if it doesn't lead to one extra drop of oil coming out of the ground." — Ben Adler, Grist, 31 Dec. 2015

Did You Know?

You're probably familiar with the word monopoly, but you may not recognize its conceptual and linguistic relative, the much rarer oligopsony. Both monopoly and oligopsony are ultimately from Greek, although monopoly passed through Latin before being adopted into English. Monopoly comes from the Greek prefix mono-, which means "one," and pōlein, "to sell." Oligopsony derives from the combining form olig-, meaning "few," and the Greek noun opsōnia—"the purchase of victuals"—which is ultimately from the combination of opson, "food," and ōneisthai, "to buy." It makes sense, then, that oligopsony refers to a buyer's market in which the seller is subjected to the potential demands of a limited pool of buyers. Another related word is monopsony, used for a more extreme oligopsony in which there is only a single buyer.

Aired January 3, 2017

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