Did the word "idiocracy" exist prior to the release of the movie of the same title, or is it a neologism coined by its screenwriters?
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Interestingly, the word already existed as far back as 1681, and originally meant:
So it was basically an alternative form to "idiosyncrasy" and was just re-appropriated for its other meaning.
However, even more interestingly, I see a reference from the OED to the use of this word with the current interpretation of "idiot form of government" (made by an author named Thomas Sinclair) from all the way back in 1878 (and my sincere apology for the unfortunate fact that the cited quotation is antisemitic):
Great question; I was surprised by what I discovered.
Dictionary.com reports the words derives from idio-, and a word that is mixture of French, and Greek.
The New Oxford American Dictionary reports that idio- means "distinct, private, personal, own"; its origin is from Greek idios (own, distinct).
It is a combination of idiot and democracy, and meant to refer to a democracy of idiots. There are similar examples like meritocracy (a democracy based on merit) or autocracy.