From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
Note: In some ancient states called republics the sovereign power was exercised by an hereditary aristocracy or a privileged few, constituting a government now distinctively called an aristocracy. In some there was a division of authority between an aristocracy and the whole body of the people except slaves. No existing republic recognizes an exclusive privilege of any class to govern, or tolerates the institution of slavery.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
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