Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to republic: USC

banana republic

A small country, often led by a corrupt government, whose economy depends upon either one internally-produced commodity or the revenue generated by foreign companies or investors. The dictator's insistance that the tiny island nation double down on its dominate export has made it even more of a banana republic.
See also: banana, republic

a banana republic

a small, poor country with a weak or dishonest government People fear that the country will become a banana republic if the economy doesn't pick up.
See also: banana, republic
References in classic literature ?
An effect -- which I believe to be observable, more or less, in every individual who has occupied the position -- is, that while he leans on the mighty arm of the Republic, his own proper strength, departs from him.
But, you will tell me, our race have equal rights to mingle in the American republic as the Irishman, the German, the Swede.
There's not the shadow of a republic about it anywhere.
It had been conceived in a cellar and born in a machine-shop; and now, of all the gifts that our young American Republic had received on its one-hundredth birthday, the telephone was honored as the rarest and most welcome of them all.
Another incident, from which we may derive occasion for important reflections, was the attempt of these original settlers to establish among them that community of goods and of labor, which fanciful politicians, from the days of Plato to those of Rousseau, have recommended as the fundamental law of a perfect republic.
The busy and sagacious bees fixed their republic in the clefts of the rocks and hollows of the trees, offering without usance the plenteous produce of their fragrant toil to every hand.
The same recollection of his master may have been present to the mind of Plato when depicting the sufferings of the Just in the Republic.
Carthage, though a commercial republic, was the aggressor in the very war that ended in her destruction.
A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.
Wandering about the Gulf of Mexico I had a look-in here and there; and amongst others I had a few days in Haiti which was of course unique, being a negro republic.
But it is a desperate evil, in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic.
In a passage of the Republic (492 b) Plato repudiates the notion that the sophists have a corrupting moral influence upon young men.
This Venice, which was a haughty, invincible, magnificent Republic for nearly fourteen hundred years; whose armies compelled the world's applause whenever and wherever they battled; whose navies well nigh held dominion of the seas, and whose merchant fleets whitened the remotest oceans with their sails and loaded these piers with the products of every clime, is fallen a prey to poverty, neglect and melancholy decay.
Fisher Ames expressed the popular security more wisely, when he compared a monarchy and a republic, saying that a monarchy is a merchantman, which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock and go to the bottom; whilst a republic is a raft, which would never sink, but then your feet are always in water.
The whole Republic was a victim of that fundamental error of importing Africa into America.