mer·​i·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ ˌmer-ə-ˈtä-krə-sē \
plural meritocracies

Definition of meritocracy

1 : a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement only the elite, in that new meritocracy, would enjoy the opportunity for self-fulfillment— R. P. Warren
2 : leadership selected on the basis of intellectual criteria many private schools have sold their birthright by choosing … "diversity" over scholarly meritocracy— L. G. Crovitz

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Other Words from meritocracy

meritocratic \ ˌmer-​ə-​tə-​ˈkra-​tik \ adjective

Examples of meritocracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The tournament is the most ruthless sort of meritocracy. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The ‘Two Worlds’ of the Champions League Keep Drifting Apart," 22 Feb. 2018 Men are also more likely to worry the diversity focus will make their workplaces less of a meritocracy. Vanessa Fuhrmans, WSJ, "What #MeToo Has to Do With the Workplace Gender Gap," 23 Oct. 2018 And a small effort to weaken our increasingly deep caste system in America in favor of meritocracy would be a huge benefit for us all. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 Growth mindset is the belief that people can evolve and grow, a key element of belonging, and an essential counterpoint to the persistently annoying meritocracy narrative found in the tech sector. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: How To Tell If Your Employees Feel Welcome At Work," 28 June 2018 Explain the meritocracy problem now that has been created. NBC News, "Meet the Press - May 27, 2018," 27 May 2018 Vista touts the tests to its investors as a great equalizer, helping make its companies diverse meritocracies. Laura Cooper, WSJ, "Billionaire’s Secret Buyout Formula: 110 Instructions and an Intelligence Test," 9 July 2018 While these examples may seem frivolous, meritocracy fatigue is anything but. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 2018 National teams are meritocracies and building a winning culture is crucial. Brian Straus,, "USMNT's New Talents Establish Own Culture, Tactical Identity as Uncertain Future Looms," 28 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of meritocracy

1958, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meritocracy

merit entry 1 + -o- + -cracy

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Last Updated

26 Dec 2018

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The first known use of meritocracy was in 1958

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


to gather or build up little by little

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