• synonyms


[nep-uh-tiz-uh m]
  1. 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.
Show More

Origin of nepotism

From the Italian word nepotismo, dating back to 1655–65. See nephew, -ism
Related formsne·pot·ic [nuh-pot-ik] /nəˈpɒt ɪk/, nep·o·tis·tic, nep·o·tis·ti·cal, adjectivenep·o·tist, nounan·ti·nep·o·tism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nepotic

Historical Examples of nepotic

  • We may infer that this was a position by no means distasteful to that prudent minister's provident and nepotic spirit.

    Shakespeare's Lost Years in London, 1586-1592

    Arthur Acheson

  • That is to say, his tendencies were ingrained, perhaps hereditary, even in cases where his selection was nepotic or accidental.

British Dictionary definitions for nepotic


  1. favouritism shown to relatives or close friends by those with power or influence
Show More
Derived Formsnepotic (nɪˈpɒtɪk) or nepotistic, adjectivenepotist, noun

Word Origin for nepotism

C17: from Italian nepotismo, from nepote nephew, 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

Word Origin and History for nepotic



"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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nepotic in Culture



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.

Show More
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.