Banana-republic definition

A small country that is economically dependent on a single export commodity, such as bananas, and is typically governed by a dictator or the armed forces.
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Any small, typically Latin American, country characterized by political instability and a one-crop economy controlled by foreign capital.
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(politics, idiomatic) A small country, especially one in Central America, that is dependent on a single export commodity (traditionally bananas) and that has a corrupt, dictatorial government.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
banana-republic
Plural:
banana-republics

Origin of banana-republic

  • Coined by American author O. Henry in his 1904 book of short stories, "Cabbages and Kings", set in the fictional "Anchuria", which was based on his 1896-97 stay in Honduras.

    From Wiktionary