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meritocracy

[mer-i-tok-ruh-see] /ˌmɛr ɪˈtɒk rə si/
noun, plural meritocracies.
1.
an elite group of people whose progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth.
2.
a system in which such persons are rewarded and advanced:
The dean believes the educational system should be a meritocracy.
3.
leadership by able and talented persons.
Origin
1955-1960
1955-60; merit + -o- + -cracy
Related forms
meritocratic
[mer-i-tuh-krat-ik] /ˌmɛr ɪ təˈkræt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for meritocracy
  • The promise of the meritocracy has not been fulfilled.
  • He represents the triumph of meritocracy in an increasingly open society.
  • The rough meritocracy of the network is what makes it so powerful and so giving.
  • It is tempting, then, to point to all these changes and proclaim that elite higher education is at long last a meritocracy.
  • It also runs against the grain of a nation based on meritocracy and opportunity.
  • In that situation, the goals of meritocracy seemed to be at odds with spousal hiring.
  • They still want to believe that meritocracy is still well and alive in the country.
  • Cricket should strive to be a meritocracy off the field, as well as on it.
  • Diversity, opportunity, and the shifting meritocracy in higher education.
  • They are free-marketeers who believe furiously in meritocracy.
British Dictionary definitions for meritocracy

meritocracy

/ˌmɛrɪˈtɒkrəsɪ/
noun (pl) -cies
1.
rule by persons chosen not because of birth or wealth, but for their superior talents or intellect
2.
the persons constituting such a group
3.
a social system formed on such a basis
Derived Forms
meritocrat, noun
meritocratic (ˌmɛrɪtəˈkrætɪk) adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for meritocracy
n.

coined 1958 by British sociologist Michael Young (1915-2002) and used in title of his book, "The Rise of the Meritocracy"; from merit (n.) + -cracy. Related: Meritocratic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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meritocracy in Culture
meritocracy [(mer-i-tok-ruh-see)]

A government or society in which citizens who display superior achievement are rewarded with positions of leadership. In a meritocracy, all citizens have the opportunity to be recognized and advanced in proportion to their abilities and accomplishments. The ideal of meritocracy has become controversial because of its association with the use of tests of intellectual ability, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, to regulate admissions to elite colleges and universities. Many contend that an individual's performance on these tests reflects his or her social class and family environment more than ability.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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