nep·​o·​tism | \ ˈne-pə-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce nepotism (audio) \

Definition of nepotism

: favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship accused the company of fostering nepotism in promotions

Other Words from nepotism

nepotistic \ ˌne-​pə-​ˈti-​stik How to pronounce nepotism (audio) \ adjective

Nepotism Has Papal Origins

During his papacy from 1471–1484, Sixtus IV granted many special favors to members of his family, in particular his nephews. This practice of papal favoritism was carried on by his successors, and in 1667 it was the subject of Gregorio Leti's book Il Nepotismo di Roma—titled in the English translation, The History of the Popes' Nephews. Shortly after the book's appearance, nepotism began to be used in English for the showing of special favor or unfair preference to any relative by someone in any position of power, be it ecclesiastical or not. (The nep- spelling is from nepote, a 17th-century variant of Italian nipote, meaning "nephew.")

Examples of nepotism in a Sentence

Nepotism has hurt the company.
Recent Examples on the Web At the same time, this genius who spouts principle at least brushed with nepotism in Tesla’s $2.6-billion bailout of SolarCity, a solar installer that was founded by two of his cousins. Dale Buss, Forbes, 1 May 2022 While hiring a family member is permitted by UK’s nepotism policy, that does not mean all potential conflicts are no longer issues. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 1 Mar. 2022 The review found existing nepotism policies at both the city and department level could potentially be insufficient, according to the presentation. Joseph Flaherty, Arkansas Online, 27 Oct. 2021 In 2017, the Legislature carved out an exception to Louisiana’s nepotism ban to allow a trooper to remain on the force after his father becomes superintendent. Jim Mustian, Jake Bleiberg, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Oct. 2021 Gong Yoo plays Choi Han-kyul, a spoiled little nepotism baby and heir to his grandfather’s coffee company, in this gender-reversal K-drama. Amanda Rosenberg, Vulture, 1 Oct. 2021 To ensure my brothers and I would not be impacted by the deterioration of a flawed system with year-round school strikes, dwindling human (mostly women’s) rights, poor infrastructure, high unemployment rates, government scandals, and nepotism. Rita Omokha, ELLE, 14 Apr. 2022 There are plenty of connections and nepotism and who knows who and who’s been where and identity stuff. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 17 Mar. 2022 Consistently Enforce Hiring Policies Having spent a decade as an NFL player, Ayodele has seen the nepotism that occurs in the industry. Shaun Harper, Rolling Stone, 13 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of nepotism

1670, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nepotism

French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nepote nephew, from Latin nepot-, nepos grandson, nephew — more at nephew

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nepotism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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