Peter Principle


: an observation: in a hierarchy employees tend to rise to the level of their incompetence

Examples of Peter Principle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Either America, the cradle of modern marketing, is suddenly full of untalented CMOs who are embodying the Peter Principle, or something bigger is indeed at play. Scott Turner, Forbes, 29 June 2022 The Peter Principle was in full effect with everything that could go wrong, going wrong. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 26 Sep. 2021 Most of you have probably heard of the Peter Principle, a management concept developed by Laurence Peter. Harvey MacKay, Star Tribune, 9 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Peter Principle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Laurence J. Peter †1990 American (Canadian-born) educator

First Known Use

1967, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Peter Principle was in 1967

Dictionary Entries Near Peter Principle

Cite this Entry

“Peter Principle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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