spoils system


: a practice of regarding public offices and their emoluments as plunder for members of the victorious party

Examples of spoils system in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Both Karzai and Ghani managed ethnic representation through a spoils system rather than the promotion of a common national vision. P. Michael McKinley, Foreign Affairs, 16 Aug. 2021 The Eternal City extravaganza, which is the brainchild of former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni, has been undergoing management shake-ups due to Italy’s political spoils system ever since its launch in 2006 with Nicole Kidman on the red carpet and ambitions to rival Venice. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 30 Mar. 2022 Not pushing back against this corporatist revival was an act of cowardice or (in the case of those who saw themselves as winners under corporatism’s spoils system, opportunism) that less than a decade later led to the BRT’s trashing of shareholder rights. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 30 Aug. 2021 Americans would not allow any other part of the federal civil service to become an ideological spoils system where merit matters less than political leanings or cultural grievances. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 6 Oct. 2022 The 19th-century reformers who ended the spoils system opposed removal protections. James Sherk, WSJ, 8 Aug. 2022 There was a general feeling that the spoils system of political appointments by the party in power (during the post–Civil War era, that was nearly always the Republicans) had gotten out of hand. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 25 July 2022 The exam was created by the Rogers Act, which abolished the spoils system and transformed the Foreign Service into a professional organization with hiring and promotions based on merit. Dave Seminara, WSJ, 2 May 2022 That’s a noble-sounding word, yet one that corrupts the notion of equality under the law by imposing a racial-spoils system favored by social-justice warriors. Asra Q. Nomani, National Review, 9 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spoils system.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1838, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spoils system was in 1838

Dictionary Entries Near spoils system

Cite this Entry

“Spoils system.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spoils%20system. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

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