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rank +‎ -ism, probably by analogy with words like racism and sexism. It was coined by American physicist, author and social reformer Robert Works Fuller (born 1936).



rankism (usually uncountable, plural rankisms)

  1. Abuse, discrimination, or exploitation based on rank. [from 20th c.]
    • 1975, Japan Interpreter, volume 10–11, Tokyo: Nihon Shakai Shisō Kenkyūsho [Center for Japanese Social and Political Studies], ISSN 0021-4450, OCLC 1793685, page 80:
      The grading system is behind most forms of overt rankism in the schools. Many people blame the school entrance examinations, saying that rankism cannot be eliminated as long as the so-called examination hell remains.
    • 2006 June 6, Stanford Silver, “Applied Conflict Psychology”, in Process Work and the Facilitation of Conflict (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation), Cincinnati, Oh.: Union Institute & University, OCLC 959025333, page 123:
      Rankisms cannot be merely legislated away by an authoritarian system, although legislative efforts can help because they introduce and solidify a third-party socio-cultural role that is watching, judging, and may take action.
    • 2012 August 12, Robert Fuller, “Rankism: The poison that destroys relationships”, in The Huffington Post[1], archived from the original on 16 March 2015:
      Rankism is a degrading assertion of rank. It's what's happening when a person, a group, or nation acts as if it outranks another and attempts to demean, humiliate, or exploit it.


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