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

Their scores functioned as a currency of merit for a nation that aspired to meritocracy. The Washington Post,, "SAT’s new adversity score system faces its own adversity," 4 June 2019 The internet has not, contra its early advertising, done away with gatekeepers or created an egalitarian meritocracy. David Roberts, Vox, "My advice for aspiring explainer journalists," 9 Dec. 2018 The adoption of de facto racial quotas for college admissions discounts the importance of merit and, by doing so, may mean that liberal belief in the myth of meritocracy will be true in its consequences. WSJ, "How Identity Politics Admissions Hurts Most College Students," 14 Feb. 2019 In a society that had long been defined by tribal connections, the company modeled itself as a meritocracy offering young hopefuls the chance for advancement. Stanley Reed, New York Times, "An Oil Giant Is Taking Big Steps. Saudi Arabia Can’t Afford for It to Slip.," 16 June 2018 One of tennis’ great virtues lies in its meritocracy., "Mailbag: Petra Kvitova Is the Best Story in Tennis Right Now, and Maybe in All of Sports," 16 May 2018 The basic truth lurking behind the stories is that Indian society is not a meritocracy. Kushanava Choudhury, WSJ, "‘Dreamers’ Review: Limited Prospects, Global Ambitions," 15 Aug. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for meritocracy

The first known use of meritocracy was in 1956

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