mer·​i·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ ˌmer-ə-ˈtä-krə-sē How to pronounce meritocracy (audio) \
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 How to pronounce meritocratic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of meritocracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The transformation of Yale, along with the other Ivies and the prep schools, marked the ceding of power from a hereditary aristocracy to something that likes to think of itself as a meritocracy. Doug Henwood, Harper's magazine, "To Serve Is to Rule," 28 Oct. 2019 The institute made a name for itself as a place where American values were defended, and where the virtues of democratic deliberation, meritocracy and leadership with moral purpose were championed. The Economist, "Inside Aspen: the mountain retreat for the liberal elite," 11 Oct. 2019 Bong has more than enough to say about the disconnect between money and meritocracy, the vagaries of family, and the things people do when the social contract is suddenly stripped away. Leah Greenblatt,, "Korean export Parasite may be the class-conscious thriller of the year," 9 Oct. 2019 That’s based on meritocracy; it’s based on all of these class issues, income status. Darcel Rockett,, "In ‘No Ashes in the Fire,’ Darnell Moore looks at sexual identity, violence and reimagining the American dream," 3 Oct. 2019 The report is a compelling illustration of how a prestigious, progressive institution departs from meritocracy to reward the wealthy and connected. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Harvard’s ‘Legacy’ Preferences Are a National Disgrace," 23 Sep. 2019 But education works, and meritocracy itself has become the single greatest obstacle to opportunity in American today. Daniel Markovits, Time, "American Universities Must Choose: Do they Want to be Equal or Elite?," 12 Sep. 2019 Its faculty has also been a factory of books taking differing positions on the merits and demerits of meritocracy and elite education. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, "The Meritocrat Who Wants to Unwind the Meritocracy," 9 Sep. 2019 In Markovits’s telling, the rise of the meritocracy is a story of unintended consequences. Sarah Leonard, The New Republic, "The Fall of the Meritocracy," 5 Sep. 2019

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

1956, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meritocracy

merit entry 1 + -o- + -cracy

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Time Traveler for meritocracy

Time Traveler

The first known use of meritocracy was in 1956

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Statistics for meritocracy

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Meritocracy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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