merit system

noun
a system or policy whereby people are promoted or rewarded on the basis of ability and achievement rather than because of seniority, quotas, patronage, or the like.

Origin:
1895–1900

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
merit system
 
n
(US) Compare spoils system the system of employing and promoting civil servants solely on the basis of ability rather than patronage

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
The first thing that comes to mind is, on a merit system or an achievement system to be in the postseason.
There was no clear merit system to help outstanding scientists.
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