Monday, May 16, 2005

Perhaps from the Greek

From Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day email:

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

Example sentence:
The newly elected governor appointed many of his old pals to prominent positions, prompting accusations of cronyism from his opponents.

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 "chum." "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 mid-20th century, when Americans starting using "cronyism" to refer to the act of playing political favorites.

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