Definition of meritocracy in US English:



  • 1Government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability.

    • ‘Many liberal democracies, Britain included, justify wide disparities in the income levels of the rich and poor in terms of a doctrine of meritocracy.’
    • ‘He did his best, offering equal citizenship, collective solidarity, meritocracy and mutual respect as his core Party values.’
    • ‘He inherited from the French Revolution a meritocracy.’
    • ‘Given the names initially under consideration and the ones denied an airing, it is obvious that political unions rather than meritocracy still carry the greater weight.’
    • ‘For the first time in the 20th century, Britain's agonisingly slow progress towards meritocracy went into reverse.’
    • ‘The forces that promoted revolution in France - meritocracy, ambition, new kinds of knowledge - were captured and harnessed to a revived conservatism in Britain.’
    • ‘The political system, however, is not a meritocracy in the same sense.’
    • ‘However, it will not alter the arrogance and meritocracy that is inherent in party politics.’
    • ‘A spokesman for the Singapore government said recently: ‘We are doing it in the interests of meritocracy, transparency and objectivity.’’
    • ‘What is happening to the campaigning steamroller that was going to propel the new prophets of technocratic and meritocracy craving Labor into power?’
    • ‘That makes it a good focus for a discussion of meritocracy, reverse discrimination, innate abilities, cultural prejudice and so on.’
    • ‘A genuine political meritocracy would be representative of the general population, because it would include people from all genders and communities and would exclude only those without merit.’
    • ‘France, which prides itself on being a meritocracy, has slowly ossified into its default mode of hierarchy.’
    • ‘It's the end of meritocracy, let alone democracy.’
    • ‘Accordingly, Napoleon's meritocracy channelled the gifted and diligent into an educational system which was geared to serving the needs of the regime.’
    • ‘While Prussia had used nationalism to overcome France's advantage in recruiting, it found that adopting a meritocracy was more difficult.’
    • ‘But it seems fair to ask, even if we are all democrats now, whether it is wise to make a god of democracy, never mind the Spartan meritocracy, ‘successful in theory and practice, which commits us to atheism’.’
    • ‘This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy.’
    • ‘He says Republicans believe in meritocracy and recognise those with good ideas.’
    • ‘Allied to the control with which candidate selection lists are drawn up, it seems the Party is letting us slip into its own form of meritocracy, badly dressed up as democracy.’
    1. 1.1 A society governed by meritocracy.
      • ‘In his first Observer article Hattersley complained that meritocracy was incompatible with social democracy.’
      • ‘Who was the UK General in the First World War who rose from the ranks - dispelling the idea that Edwardian Britain wasn't a meritocracy?’
      • ‘I believe in a society that is a meritocracy, and I believe this is worth working for.’
      • ‘She then went on to talk gushingly about the joys of a meritocracy - a society in which people are rewarded on the basis of merit, rather than on any other basis.’
      • ‘Because of people such as them, sports is the closest thing America has to a true meritocracy.’
      • ‘Social mobility will therefore be high during the transition period to a meritocracy and as society becomes more equal.’
      • ‘A true meritocracy is tougher in this regard (note that affirmative action may benefit some whites, for this reason).’
      • ‘The problem with Liang's novels is that it is a rigid meritocracy - people are graded on their martial art skills, and when a superior fighter encounters an inferior fighter, the outcome is always the same.’
      • ‘He built a multiracial meritocracy that insists on tolerance, lawfulness and freedom from crime.’
      • ‘If no one accuses me of saying that we're living in a caste system or rigid class society I promise not to ask anyone to defend our society as a pure meritocracy.’
      • ‘Of course, the American and French Revolutions put paid to all that, and now in the West, we generally live in meritocracies.’
      • ‘The reason stems from complacency, particularly among the mutual life companies in Scotland which haven't been run as meritocracies and have effectively been old boys' clubs.’
      • ‘Equality of opportunity is then either a means to meritocracy or partly constitutive of it.’
      • ‘Truly, our visitor might conclude, the idea of a meritocracy in Britain has yet to catch on.’
      • ‘‘You have no choice but to have a complete meritocracy and have the competition of the best ideas, best talents and the best people regardless of their backgrounds,’ Yang said.’
      • ‘Well at least we don't live in a meritocracy that says that people with degrees should earn more than minimum wage.’
      • ‘In the earlier article, Herrnstein argued that our society is a meritocracy where not only does the cream rise to the top, but it starts near the top from day one.’
      • ‘France is far from a meritocracy in the American vein.’
      • ‘‘The industry became more of a meritocracy,’ says Kurt Cerulli of Boston's Cerulli Associates Inc.’
      • ‘He emphasized that equality in America also means meritocracy, a stress on equality of opportunity among individuals regardless of social origins.’
      • ‘Whether you live in a feudal system or a meritocracy, the only ambitions worth having are for your soul.’
    2. 1.2 A ruling or influential class of educated or skilled people.
      • ‘Surveying this phenomenon has led me to review my own rise in the academic meritocracy, with surprising results.’
      • ‘As he explains it, ‘This is supposed to be a meritocracy and you're supposed to earn what you have.’’
      • ‘They considered themselves a landed meritocracy rather than a regressive aristocracy.’
      • ‘Sure, the ideal of a meritocracy - Jefferson's aristocracy of talent and all that - is very old, but America fell short of it for a long time.’
      • ‘De Bottan's comparison between Aristocracies and meritocracies does indeed seem facile if you look at it as the be-all and end-all of happiness - but its not if you remember its context.’
      • ‘Either way, post War British educational and welfare state policies was always going to create a new nationalist meritocracy in the North that the old unionist territorial headlands could not contain.’
      • ‘Sure, we spend billions each year on college sports but we are willing to give all that up for an academic meritocracy based upon infallible test scores.’
      • ‘However, they embrace the meritocracies of education and athletics, two pursuits that have come to be associated especially, though not exclusively, with American middle-class culture.’
      • ‘But perhaps he overestimates the sturdiness of the SAT-based meritocracy that he wishes to see deposed.’
      • ‘Being in a small community can be inhibiting; having business dealings with friends and family can stifle a meritocracy.’
      • ‘We have a meritocracy of money in which good public education is passed on from one generation to the next.’
      • ‘Some people think a meritocracy would reward literary novelists more than those who write formula romances.’
      • ‘The governing class, defended as a meritocracy, resembles nothing more than the Chinese mandarinate.’
      • ‘The campaign is also backed by several millionaires whose aim is to develop a meritocracy in British society.’
      • ‘Gillmor outlines a utopian world of media meritocracy, where a blogger with a tiny readership can compete on equal terms with the New York Times or the BBC.’
      • ‘Second, Catalyst's paper challenges the legitimacy of a meritocracy: why should the banker be vastly richer than the nurse or street-cleaner?’
      • ‘I may no longer be the communist of my youth, but I do believe in a meritocracy where people can get on in life thanks to their own efforts.’
      • ‘The company was a true meritocracy where a guy with a bit of chutzpah, a common touch and a love of money could go a long way.’
      • ‘They would call this a meritocracy, others would see it merely entrenching the moneyed aristocracy.’
      • ‘The founder of the National Outdoor Leadership School, proposed a meritocracy, giving priority to those best educated in wilderness skills.’