achieved status

(noun) A status that is acquired as the result of personal accomplishment, serving as a reflection of ability and personal effort.

Example: A university professor, working actor, professional athlete, licensed dentist, or master mechanic; also marital status.

Audio Pronunciation: (a·chieved stat·us)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: achieved statuses
  • Coined along with ascribed status by Ralph Linton (1893–1953) in The Study of Man: An Introduction (1936).
  • Ascribed status is the opposite of achieved status.
  • Achieved statuses can be positive (e.g., university educated) or negative (e.g., criminal).
  • Also called:
    • achieved role
    • acquired status
    • acquired trait
  • Achieved status used in a sentence: Jordon’s achieved status is being a university graduate.

Related Quotations:

  • “By depriving people of access to opportunities, for instance, discrimination often leads to lack of qualification for them. The involuntary ascribed and negatively evaluated categorical status that emerges from discrimination not only takes precedence over any achieved status but reduces the probability of such achievement, thereby lowering all life chances. Put simply, discrimination makes it more difficult for the objects of discrimination to develop merit and reduces the likelihood that their merit will e recognized and rewarded” (McNamee and Miller 2013:180).

Related Terms:


McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd. ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.