Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 16, 2020 is:
cronyism KROH-nee-iz-um noun
: partiality to cronies especially as evidenced in the appointment of political hangers-on to office without regard to their qualifications
“From the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the New Deal, America’s national parties retained their incoherence because most of the important political power was at the state and local level…. Some states and cities were better governed than others, and there was plenty of cronyism and corruption throughout the country, but the stakes of national elections were lower than today.” — Lee Drutman, The Cato Policy Report (The Cato Institute), July/August 2020
“Civil service regulations attempted to eliminate cronyism by setting strict rules governing hiring, firing and promotions within professional government services…. Under the system used in Idaho Falls, promotions rely heavily on scores from written, oral and other tests.” — Bryan Clark, The Idaho Falls Post Register, 4 Apr. 2017
Did you know?
“Forsake not an old friend; for the new is not comparable to him” (Ecclesiasticus 9:10). Practitioners of cronyism would probably agree. The word cronyism evolved in the 19th century as a spin-off of crony, meaning “friend” or “pal.” Crony originated in England in the 17th century, perhaps as a play on the Greek word chronios, meaning “long-lasting,” from chronos, meaning “time.” Nineteenth-century cronyism was simply friendship, or the ability to make friends. The word didn’t turn bad until the next century, when Americans starting using cronyism to refer to the act of playing political favorites.