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[nep-uh-tiz-uh m] /ˈnɛp əˌtɪz əm/
patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics:
She was accused of nepotism when she made her nephew an officer of the firm.
Origin of nepotism
1655-65; < Italian nepotismo. See nephew, -ism
Related forms
[nuh-pot-ik] /nəˈpɒt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
nepotistic, nepotistical, adjective
nepotist, noun
antinepotism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nepotism
  • Like most of my peers, I got here through a combination of nepotism and a very careful selection of college organizations.
  • The world of nepotism is ugly and dark, I know.
  • I'm a big fan of nepotism.
  • Some states, like mine, have anti-nepotism laws.
  • The pilots don't deny nepotism plays a role in who joins their ranks.
  • In my opinion spousal hires are plain old nepotism.
  • Neither wanted the stigma of nepotism hanging over them, and Graham sought to establish his own identity.
  • People in the region are fed up with corruption, embezzlement, nepotism and unemployment.
  • Accusations of nepotism, cronyism, and fraud spur calls for restructuring.
  • Trying to track things down in the military is a nightmare-poor record keeping, nepotism abounds, etc.
British Dictionary definitions for nepotism


favouritism shown to relatives or close friends by those with power or influence
Derived Forms
nepotic (nɪˈpɒtɪk), nepotistic, adjective
nepotist, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Italian nepotismo, from nepotenephew, from the former papal practice of granting special favours to nephews or other relatives
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 nepotism

"favoritism shown to relatives, especially in appointment to high office," 1660s, from French népotisme (1650s), from Italian nepotismo, from nepote "nephew," from Latin nepotem (nominative nepos) "grandson, nephew" (see nephew). Originally, practice of granting privileges to a pope's "nephew" which was a euphemism for his natural son.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nepotism in Culture
nepotism [(nep-uh-tiz-uhm)]

Favoritism granted to relatives or close friends, without regard to their merit. Nepotism usually takes the form of employing relatives or appointing them to high office.

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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