meritocracy definition by American Heritage Dictionary
noun pl. mer·i·toc·ra·cies
- A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.
- a. A group of leaders or officeholders selected on the basis of individual ability or achievement.b. Leadership by such a group.
- merˈit·o·cratˌ noun
- merˌit·o·cratˈic adjective
meritocracy - Cultural Definition
A government or society in which citizens who display superior achievement are rewarded with positions of leadership. In a meritocracy, all citizens have the opportunity to be recognized and advanced in proportion to their abilities and accomplishments. The ideal of meritocracy has become controversial because of its association with the use of tests of intellectual ability, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, to regulate admissions to elite colleges and universities. Many contend that an individual's performance on these tests reflects his or her social class and family environment more than ability.