Word of the Day : May 22, 2015

nepotism

play
noun NEP-uh-tiz-um

Definition

: favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship

Did You Know?

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

It was strongly believed that nepotism played a role in helping Jessica get the sales manager position at her cousin's store.

"The Times investigation found that at least 7% of county firefighters on the payroll since 2012 were the sons of current or former employees of the department.… Statistical experts consulted by The Times said the percentage of sons and other relatives on the job strongly indicated that nepotism was at play." - Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2015



Test Your Vocabulary

What word for a very large number was coined in 1938 by 9-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner? The answer is …


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!