tech·​no·​crat ˈtek-nə-ˌkrat How to pronounce technocrat (audio)
: an adherent of technocracy
: a technical expert
especially : one exercising managerial authority

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In 1919 W. H. Smyth coined the term technocracy to mean basically "management of society by technical experts". Technocracy grew into a movement during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when politicians and financial institutions were being blamed for the economic disaster, and fans of technocracy claimed that letting technical experts manage the country would be a great improvement. (They also suggested that dollars could be replaced by "energy certificates" representing energy units called ergs.) Today technocrat and technocratic are still popular words for experts with a highly rational and scientific approach to public policy issues. But these experts aren't always the best politicians, and when a terrific technological solution to a problem is opposed by a powerful group or industry, lawmakers find it easier to just ignore it.

Examples of technocrat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These include roads, cars, fences, ranchers, cities, computers, cell phones, the rich but also the ignorant poor (most of all, white-trash Trump voters), Nazis, NPR’s Kai Ryssdal, technocrats, Apple, the internet, and monotheism. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's Magazine, 16 Oct. 2023 But not in China, conventional wisdom goes, because its debts are owed to domestic rather than foreign investors, the government already stands behind much of the financial system and capable technocrats are on top of things. Greg Ip, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2023 These technocrats are the new American oligarchs, controlling online access for billions of users on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Jonathan Taplin, Rolling Stone, 24 Sep. 2023 Almost all senior Russian technocrats and a large majority of their immediate subordinates — officials who guide Russia’s economy — remain in their posts more than a year after the invasion. Anatoly Kurmanaev, New York Times, 22 Apr. 2023 The Theatre In a dark room, an unnamed technocrat (Steve Mellor) sits at a microphone and grumbles his life story into something called a time encapsulator: How dare others get credit for his ecocidal inventions? The New Yorker, 6 Oct. 2023 Viewed as a technocrat, Mr. Mishustin might be able to present himself to the Russian people as a peacemaker tasked with cleaning up Mr. Putin’s mess. WSJ, 4 Nov. 2022 Capable technocrats in prominent posts were replaced with Xi loyalists. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2023 Meanwhile, technocrats float implausible fixes, like piping in water from the Mississippi River basin or desalting the Sea of Cortez. Stephen Robert Miller, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


techno- + -crat, after technocracy

First Known Use

1932, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of technocrat was in 1932

Dictionary Entries Near technocrat

Cite this Entry

“Technocrat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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