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Nepotism is a word that has its roots in the Middle Ages. We will examine the definition of the word nepotism, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Nepotism is the practice of awarding a job, position, political appointment or other favoritism or benefit to a member of one’s family based on that familial relationship rather than merit or seniority. Nepotism is usually a bad idea, as the person receiving the benefit is usually unqualified to execute that position or has not earned the right to the award. The word nepotism has an interesting origin. Many Roman Catholic popes in the Middle Ages were corrupt and did not keep their vows. They often appointed family members to positions in order to consolidate their power. These family members were usually referred to as nephews, though they often were illegitimate sons of these popes. In time, the Roman Catholic Church ousted these corrupt men, and these popes were thereafter referred to as anti-popes, as they were not divinely inspired. The word nepotism is derived from the Italian word nepotismo, which means nephew.


Despite the disturbing news of nepotism at high levels of the state’s health department, there is one positive conclusion: The oversight system worked. (The Florida Times-Union)

An anonymous complaint filed with the state Comptroller’s Office last month accuses Burchett, who’s running for the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. in the 2nd District, of nepotism in the 2015 hiring of his stepson as a laborer in the county Public Works Department.  (The Knoxville News Sentinel)

Maffett, who was a special assistant to the president and provost and served as associate athletic director of human resources, also alleges a number of other issues, including that another coach was verbally abusive toward employees, nepotism in the football program and a “culture of misogynism, sexism, lying, cover-up, and bullying in the Athletic Department.” (The Lexington Herald-Leader)