• synonyms


[ 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.

Nearby words

nepit, nepman, nepos, nepos, cornelius, nepotic, nepotism, neptune, neptunian, neptunium, neptunium series, ner tamid

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nepotist

  • Calixtus proved himself as much a nepotist as many another Pope before and since.

    The Life of Cesare Borgia|Raphael Sabatini
  • As a nepotist Sixtus was almost unsurpassed in the history of the Papacy.

    The Life of Cesare Borgia|Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for nepotist


/ (ˈnɛpəˌtɪzəm) /


favouritism shown to relatives or close friends by those with power or influence
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 nepotist



"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

Culture definitions for nepotist


[ (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 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.