Nepotism refers to the practice of showing favoritism to relatives or friends, particularly in the workplace or in positions of power, regardless of their qualifications or abilities.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Cronyism, favoritism, bias, partiality, patronage


Meritocracy, impartiality, objectivity, fairness, equal opportunity

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun nepotism, nepotisms
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The CEO’s daughter was given a high-ranking position in the company, raising concerns about nepotism and unfair hiring practices.

  • The government’s hiring policies were criticized for their nepotistic tendencies, as many officials appointed their relatives to key positions.

  • The judge’s decision to appoint his son as a clerk in the court was seen as a clear example of nepotism.

  • The company’s strict policies against nepotism ensured that all employees were hired based on their qualifications and abilities.


The word “nepotism” comes from the Latin word “nepos,” meaning nephew or grandson, and originally referred to the practice of favoring family members in the Catholic Church by giving them positions of power and influence. In modern usage, it refers to the unfair practice of giving preferential treatment to friends or family members in various fields, such as politics, business, and the arts.

Nepotism can occur in various ways, such as through preferential hiring, promotions, or the allocation of resources. It can result in unqualified or underqualified individuals being given positions of power or influence, while more capable and deserving candidates are overlooked. Nepotism can also lead to a lack of diversity and a perpetuation of social and economic inequalities, as certain groups are favored over others based on familial connections rather than merit.

The negative consequences of nepotism can extend beyond individual cases to have wider societal effects. For example, if a company is run by family members who lack the necessary skills or expertise, the company’s performance may suffer, leading to job losses and economic instability. Nepotism in politics can lead to corruption, as officials use their positions to enrich themselves and their families rather than serving the public interest.

To combat nepotism, many organizations have implemented policies and procedures that ensure fairness and transparency in hiring and promotion practices. These may include requirements for open job postings, objective criteria for evaluating candidates, and clear guidelines for conflict of interest. Additionally, public scrutiny and media attention can serve as a deterrent to nepotistic practices, as individuals and organizations are held accountable for their actions.

Prefixes and suffixes can be added to the word “nepotism” to create related words, such as “nepotistic,” which refers to the practice of nepotism, and “nepotist,” which refers to a person who engages in nepotism. The word “cronyism” is often used interchangeably with nepotism and refers to the practice of showing favoritism to close friends or associates.