Skip to main content

Advancement vs Preferment vs Promotion vs Elevation

Advancement, Preferment, Promotion and Elevation designate the act of raising a person in grade, rank, or dignity, or the honor that comes to one who is so raised.

Advancement is the general term of widest application.

  • lose all hope of advancement

Preferment especially in older use often comes close to advancement.

  • ’tis the curse of service, preferment goes by letter and affection, and not by old gradation, where each second stood heir to the first

It now more often implies choice, especially from a series of candidates or possibilities.

  • a military record was the surest road to military preferment among vigorous frontiersmen
  • obedience spelled preferment in the civil service

Promotion, usually but not invariably, implies gradation or raising according to a fixed plan, often involving the passing of tests or the meeting of qualifications. It is the specific word in education to designate the end-of-the-term advance of pupils to a higher grade or in any field where members of a force or staff are given positions of higher rank with increased remuneration.

Elevation is applicable only when the advancement carries marked increase in honor or dignity.

  • the prime minister’s elevation to the peerage
  • the bishop’s elevation to the cardinalate
  • the many men of talent who owed their elevation to Wolsey