tech·​no·​crat | \ ˈtek-nə-ˌkrat How to pronounce technocrat (audio) \

Definition of technocrat

1 : an adherent of technocracy
2 : 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 But with the ascent of Vladimir Putin in the 2000s, pragmatic technocrats at the helm of Roscosmos were replaced with military officers and political appointees who had no experience in the rocket industry. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Everything You Need To Know About Russia’s (Possibly Fictional) Super Heavy Rocket," 3 Feb. 2020 He was replaced Thursday by a relatively unknown technocrat, Mikhail Mishustin, lauded for his work modernizing Russia's tax office but not seen as a serious political contender in the long run. NBC News, "Putin's changes to Russia's constitution seen by many as a grand power-grab," 15 Jan. 2020 Singapore’s technocrats, the authors of many detailed economic blueprints, presumably never dreamt of a multiplayer fighting game that includes such characters as a beauty queen turned arms dealer. The Economist, "InnovationAsian-tiger governments are steering their economies with a lighter touch," 5 Dec. 2019 The term itself is somewhat oxymoronic, as technocrats seem like the opposite of ideologues. Ganesh Sitaraman, The New Republic, "The Collapse of Neoliberalism," 23 Dec. 2019 Since its inception nearly six decades ago, OPEC has been run by technocrats. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "The Man Who Wants America to Fall in Love With OPEC," 28 June 2019 But his reputation as a technocrat meant that as presidents came and went, Mr. Volcker stayed put. New York Times, "Paul A. Volcker, Fed Chairman Who Waged War on Inflation, Is Dead at 92," 9 Dec. 2019 In an unusual act of self-abnegation, politicians ceded power to the technocrats as the only way to stop themselves from printing money. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The Fall of the Priesthood of Central Banking," 12 July 2019 The promise of this model was that idealistic technocrats would run schools like businesses, emphasizing competition, financial incentives, and accountability. Andrea Gabor, Harper's magazine, "The K-12 Takeover," 28 Oct. 2019

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

History and Etymology for technocrat

techno- + -crat, after technocracy

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Time Traveler for technocrat

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The first known use of technocrat was in 1932

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Technocrat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce technocrat (audio)

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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Nglish: Translation of technocrat for Spanish Speakers

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