Meritocracy is the belief — or a social system founded on that belief — that rulers should be chosen for their abilities rather than for their wealth or family tree.

Meritocracy, coined in 1958 by Michael Young, is a combination of merit ("goodness worthy of praise or reward") and aristocracy, meaning "the highest class in certain societies." In a government based on meritocracy, the leaders are chosen because they are the smartest and have best judgment. They can come from the poorest, most humble background just as long as they are the most noble and fit to rule.

Definitions of meritocracy

n a form of social system in which power goes to those with superior intellects

Type of:
social organisation, social organization, social structure, social system, structure
the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships

n the belief that rulers should be chosen for their superior abilities and not because of their wealth or birth

Type of:
ideology, political orientation, political theory
an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.