tech·​no·​crat | \ˈtek-nə-ˌkrat \

Definition of technocrat 

1 : an adherent of technocracy

2 : a technical expert especially : one exercising managerial authority

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Did You Know?

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

China could have waited for Western technocrats to fiddle around on the margins until the same cost reductions were achieved, but who knows how long that would have taken. David Roberts, Vox, "China made solar panels cheap. Now it’s doing the same for electric buses.," 24 July 2018 Autocrats are often incompetent There are undoubtedly real examples of autocratic rulers who are also savvy, highly skilled technocrats who excel at devising and implementing public policy. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s incompetence and authoritarianism are both scary," 15 Nov. 2018 But as urban crime has plummeted compared to rates a decade ago, city centers have been revitalized, and downtowns have become bigger and bigger economic engines, mayors can runs as technocrats with a record of job creation and economic growth. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Why mayors and urban leaders will have a bigger impact in 2018 elections," 21 Sep. 2018 More radically, maybe politicians could hand over some economic policy decisions—certainly not most—to nonpolitical technocrats. Alan S. Blinder, The New Republic, "An economist’s view of the American political process," 22 Mar. 2018 The president’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI, picked a technocrat, José Antonio Meade, as its candidate because he was untainted by scandal. Elisabeth Malkin, New York Times, "As Mexico Election Nears, Call for Change Finds Wider Audience," 26 June 2018 The president had originally planned to put a former IMF economist, Carlo Cottarelli, at the head of a government of technocrats, tasked with steering the country back to the polls after the summer. The Economist, "Italy’s bond yields rise as it heads for another election," 29 May 2018 Politicians thus become more likely to appoint inflation-fighting technocrats, who anchor inflation with fiscal austerity and tight credit, to their economic teams. Stephen Kaplan, Washington Post, "Will Sunday’s elections bring economic relief and reform to Venezuela?," 17 May 2018 Both Di Maio and League leader Matteo Salvini had sought the position of premier, and their parties had been critical in the past of a common Italian practice: Handing power to unelected technocrats after backroom deals. Stefano Pitrelli And Chico Harlan,, "A political novice is on the verge of becoming Italy's prime minister," 21 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'technocrat.' 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 technocrat

1932, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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The first known use of technocrat was in 1932

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English Language Learners Definition of technocrat

: a scientist or technical expert who has a lot of power in politics or industry

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