cro·​ny·​ism | \ ˈkrō-nē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce cronyism (audio) \

Definition of cronyism

: partiality to cronies especially as evidenced in the appointment of political hangers-on to office without regard to their qualifications

Examples of cronyism in a Sentence

The mayor has been accused of cronyism.
Recent Examples on the Web Some have even called on President Trump to veto the bill over the unnecessary spending and cronyism that comes along with it. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Coronavirus relief package contains tens of millions for 'gender' and 'democracy programs' in Pakistan," 22 Dec. 2020 That’s standard cronyism, of course, which is something the Trump administration has brought to new levels—deadly heights, in fact—over the past four years. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, "The “three-martini lunch” tax break sums up why so many people hate capitalism," 21 Dec. 2020 Another way to address cronyism is to gradually and dramatically raise capital standards for the largest financial institutions. Robert Stein, National Review, "A New Agenda for the GOP," 15 Nov. 2020 But the democratic erosion and cronyism seen in Hungary and Poland jeopardize the liberal values upon which the E.U. is ostensibly built. Washington Post, "Europe rallies amid crises, but its divisions show all the more," 11 Dec. 2020 Other Wall Streeters, though, have funded charter schools and scholarships to help disadvantaged youngsters make their own way, in line with their own gifts and dreams, rather than as future candidates for tokenism and cronyism. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "A Nasdaq Chief’s Diversity Stunt," 8 Dec. 2020 GraceHebert’s contract to restore the women’s prison was awarded through a process that aims to reduce cronyism in state contracts for professional services. Gordon Russell,, "Louisiana architect paid $17,216 to settle ethics case then got $6 million contract," 28 Nov. 2020 And an audit into the dealings of the former head of the Utah Department of Agriculture finds free-spending and cronyism. The Salt Lake Tribune, "‘Behind the Headlines:’ Join us for a discussion of the week’s news Friday morning at KCPW," 19 Nov. 2020 Hungary in particular has also resisted greater transparency in how Mr. Orban’s government spends E.U. subsidies, at times steering funds toward political allies in an environment of cronyism. Benjamin Novak, New York Times, "Hungary and Poland Threaten E.U. Stimulus Over Rule of Law Links," 16 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cronyism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cronyism

1840, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cronyism

Time Traveler for cronyism

Time Traveler

The first known use of cronyism was in 1840

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about cronyism

Statistics for cronyism

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cronyism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cronyism


How to pronounce cronyism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cronyism

disapproving : the unfair practice by a powerful person (such as a politician) of giving jobs and other favors to friends

More from Merriam-Webster on cronyism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cronyism

Comments on cronyism

What made you want to look up cronyism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!