The Meaning of Anarchy: What It Is and How To Use It

What does the word anarchy mean, and how can it be used in politics? This article will cover numerous meanings of anarchy and how to use them.

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Have you ever heard something referred to as anarchy and wondered what the word meant? This article will cover how to use the word anarchy in a general sense and a political sense. You will also learn the origin of the word anarchy, translations, synonyms, and antonyms!

What Does the Word Anarchy Mean?

Collins English Dictionary states that the word anarchy is a noun that refers to a state of disorder and lawlessness, often from the failure of government, the lack of government, or the lack of a leader or ruler.

We can also use the word anarchy to refer to a general state of chaos or disorder. While this word most often has associations with a lack of government control, it is perfectly acceptable to use it in any chaotic situation where there’s a lack of leadership. 

This state of society can stem from many sources, including the overthrow of a governing body by individual anarchists, an absence of governmental control, or general lawlessness and theft from the absence of any guidance.

In political theory, the term anarchy also refers to a philosophy in which people advocate for the abolition of all coercive hierarchy and want direct democracy, the voluntary cooperation of individuals, and mutual aid systems. According to Britannica, the first anarchist was a socialist and political writer from France named Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. 

Many different political systems have different levels of extremism from different people, and the same goes for ideologies from libertarianism to socialism. The practice of political anarchism is often created in response to an oppressive government authority. People might fight against the political power of the government authority for an individual’s liberty.

There have been political and social anarchists during times like the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War in Spain. These political and individualist anarchists opposed the government and practiced individualist anarchism.

What Is the Origin of Anarchy?

According to Dictionary, the word anarchy has been used since 16th century Middle English. This word comes from the Middle French anarchie and can also stem from the Medieval Latin anarchia

The New Latin anarchia comes from the Greek anarchía, meaning lawlessness or lacking a leader. This, in turn, come from the Greek anarkhiā, arkhos, ánarch, arkhein, and anarkhos

What Are Translations of Anarchy?

Political and individual anarchy can occur all over the world. Therefore, it can be very helpful to learn different translations of the word anarchy like those listed below. 

Knowing how to say anarchy in other languages can also help you understand the origin of the word anarchy. How many of the below words look and sound alike, and what does this mean? They probably have the same origin as the word anarchy,

  • Hindi: अराजकता
  • Japanese: anarcys.
  • Czech: anarchie
  • Croatian: anarhija
  • Finnish: anarkia
  • Ukrainian: анархія
  • Bengali: অরাজকতা
  • Serbian: анархија
  • Portuguese (Portugal): anarquia
  • Thai: อนาธิปไตย
  • Korean: 무정부 상태
  • Arabic: فوضى سياسية
  • Welsh: anarchiaeth
  • Hebrew: אֲנַרכִיָה
  • Marathi: अराजकता
  • Basque: anarkia
  • Turkish: anarşi
  • French: anarchie
  • Swedish: anarki
  • Danish: anarki
  • Portuguese (Brazil): anarquia
  • Lithuanian: anarchija
  • Kannada: ಅರಾಜಕತೆ
  • Russian: анархия
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 無政府狀態
  • Filipino: anarkiya
  • Italian: anarchia
  • Tamil: அராஜகம்
  • Icelandic: Anarkía
  • Gujarati: અરાજકતા
  • Norwegian: anarki
  • German: Anarchie
  • Spanish: anarquía
  • Urdu: انتشار
  • Amharic: አንጥረኛ
  • Slovenian: anarhija
  • Romanian: anarhie
  • Greek: αναρχία
  • Malayalam: അരാജകതം
  • Telugu: అనార్కి
  • Estonian: anarhia
  • Polish: anarchia
  • Catalan: anarquia
  • Chinese (PRC): 无政府状态
  • Bulgarian: анархия
  • Malay: anarki
  • Slovak: anarchia
  • Latvian: anarhija
  • Indonesian: anarki
  • Dutch: anarchie
  • Hungarian: anarchia

What Are Synonyms of the Word Anarchy?

If anarchy is not quite the right word for the situation, using a synonym of the word anarchy might be a good choice. You can use one of the below synonyms of anarchy from Power Thesaurus in order to learn words that have the same meaning as the word anarchy. 

Do you know any of these synonyms of anarchy already?

  • agitation
  • anarchism
  • bedlam
  • chaos
  • chaotic
  • clutter
  • commotion
  • confusion
  • disarrangement
  • disarray
  • disconnectedness
  • disorder
  • disorderliness
  • disorganization
  • disruption
  • disturbance
  • entropy
  • fighting
  • formlessness
  • fracas
  • free-for-all
  • furore
  • hubbub
  • incoherence
  • insurrection
  • jumble
  • lawlessness
  • mayhem
  • mayhems
  • melee
  • mess
  • messiness
  • misrule
  • mix-up
  • mob rule
  • mob violence
  • mobocracy
  • muddle
  • muss
  • nihilism
  • ochlocracy
  • pandemonium
  • rebellion
  • reign of terror
  • revolt
  • revolution
  • riot
  • rioting
  • rumpus
  • shambles
  • tangle
  • tumult
  • turmoil
  • unrest
  • untidiness
  • upheaval
  • uprising
  • uproar
  • violence

What Are Antonyms of the Word Anarchy?

There are words in the English language that mean the opposite of the word anarchy, too. Power Thesaurus lists many different antonyms of the word anarchy that you can use to refer to a system of order, organization, and government.

  • arrangement
  • basic entitlements
  • basic human rights
  • basic rights
  • bureaucratic
  • calm
  • calmness
  • capitalist country
  • capitalist economy
  • capitalist society
  • capitalist system
  • capitalist world
  • central control
  • chronological order
  • citizenship rights
  • civic freedoms
  • civic liberties
  • civic rights
  • civil freedoms
  • civil liberties
  • civil rights
  • civil-law rights
  • coherence
  • command
  • discipline
  • example
  • fundamental rights
  • government
  • harmony
  • human rights
  • industrial capitalism
  • law and order
  • lawfulness
  • legal rights
  • method
  • order
  • organization
  • peace
  • regime
  • rule
  • structure


Overall, the term anarchy generally refers to a state of lawlessness or the absence of any cohesive principle. Advocating for anarchy can support social equality, as a fight against the government or free market, and many other reasons. We can also use anarchy to refer to a situation in which there is chaos due to a lack of leadership or a lack of control.


  1. Anarchy synonyms – 712 Words and Phrases for Anarchy | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Anarchy antonyms – 166 Opposites of Anarchy | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Anarchy | Dictionary 
  4. Anarchism | Britannica
  5. Anarchy definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary