Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Favoritism shown or patronage granted to relatives, as in business.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The favoring of relatives or personal friends because of their relationship rather than because of their abilities.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Undue attachment to relations; favoritism shown to members of one's family; bestowal of patronage in consideration of relationship, rather than of merit or of legal claim.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Favoritism shown to nephews and other relatives; patronage bestowed in consideration of family relationship and not of merit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. favoritism shown to relatives or close friends by those in power (as by giving them jobs)

Etymologies

French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nepote, nephew, from Latin nepōs, nepōt-; see nepōt- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian nepotismo, from Latin nepōs ("nephew"), a reference to the practice of popes appointing relatives (most often nephews) as cardinals during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • My mum told me what this word meant in the car today.
    We were playing a number plate game where you have to make a true statement out of the three grouped letters. It was a good drive.

    May 26, 2009

  • Ultimately from Latin nepotem "grandson, descendant" (nom. nepos), later also "nephew, niece", giving Italian nipote "nephew, niece". In Italian the practice was originally styled nipotismo as well as the current nepotismo.

    September 16, 2008

  • nipote, rather.

    September 16, 2008

  • From the Italian for "nephew," nepoti.

    September 16, 2008

  • Actually I was referring to the Stroger clan, but now that Daley's running for mayor again, I guess we all have to go through the motions, right?

    December 14, 2006

  • All Hail Lord Daley.

    December 14, 2006

  • The primary means of political promotion in Chicago.

    December 14, 2006