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Is there a word for a phenomenon where someone gets promoted two-five tier above their original rank regardless of the reason (preferably neutral word)

Example 1 (positive example): one student would be promoted say hypothetically from grade 3 directly to grade 5 or 6 (because of gauging his/her intelligence).

Example 2 (Negative example): in this example, a employee unbelievably promoted directly from being a peon or a clerk to department manager (in a large organization) under whom there are people working like officers, clerks, peons, senior officers working (for the sake of explaining in this example it is because of long term sycophancy).

I suppose I have come across a word in Wikipedia but cannot find it.

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    Not dead on, but related: percussive sublimation.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 2 '18 at 12:15
  • What does 'two-five tier' mean? Is it supposed to mean literally 'two to five tiers' ?
    – Mitch
    Oct 2 '18 at 13:15
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    Further to Hot Licks's comment, on promoting people thoughtlessly or to stop them doing further harm etc., there's also kicked upstairs and given a window seat. Both are negative but they are negative in a different way than you say you are looking for in your second example.
    – tmgr
    Oct 2 '18 at 13:54
  • Reading through the answers how does "jumped ranks" or "Jumped Class" or "Jumped Grades" sound or even use "galloped ranks" and similar
    – AMN
    Oct 3 '18 at 3:56
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There is fast track, which is more positive than neutral.

In your first example, you could say:

The student was fast-tracked from grade 3 to grade 6.

fast track (verb, with object)

accelerate the progress of (a person or project)

This is often taken as evidence that gender discrimination persists, and as basis for calls to fast-track women to higher positions.

She was lovely too, said she'd fast-track us through the selection process to end up ‘on-air’.

At the hospital, which is full of people who look like they have been waiting around for an awfully long time, I am efficiently fast-tracked through the system.

Despite his protestations of innocence he was fast-tracked into court the following day and jailed for 11 years.

(In the example sentences above, I have only included those that relate to people rather than projects.)


Alternatively there is pluck from the ranks, which is more neutral as to whether or not this promotion was a good thing or not, and perhaps implies more sudden, rapid and arbitrary a rise, and less of an ongoing or regular process than with fast track.

In your second example, you could say:

The clerk was plucked from the ranks to fill the general manager position.

It is obviously a military analogy. I can't find a specific dictionary listing for this phrase, but it is the second-listed sense of pluck in this definition:

quickly or suddenly remove someone from a dangerous or unpleasant situation

The baby was plucked from a grim orphanage.

There are other promotion-related phrases based on from the ranks, such as:

  • come up through the ranks

  • rise through the ranks

  • rise from the ranks

all of which imply a slow process, driven by one's own efforts - definitely not what you require! However these phrases provide the context for pluck from the ranks.

Examples sentences for the phrase pluck from the ranks can be found easily by a Google Books search. To take the first three examples from this search with complete sentences available:

Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Mercedes Lackey (1997)

"I could read those and give you a summary," said her secretary Kayne Davenkent, a clever and steady young novice that Ardis had plucked from the ranks of the scribes just last summer.


The Far Side of Eden: New Money, Old Land, and the Battle for Napa Valley, James Conaway (2015)

She saw that they would attempt to knock her off, just as they and men like them had knocked off women supervisors in the past, with money and an inexperienced, pliant good-old-boy candidate plucked from the ranks of commerce.


Meet the Next President, Bill Sammon (2007)

Thus, it is entirely possible that the next vice president will be plucked from the ranks of presidential candidates who fall short of the top prize in 2008. Just don't expect any of these candidates to actually admit their strategy in advance.

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  • Just out of curiosity, is there a negative one, if there is any.
    – AMN
    Oct 2 '18 at 11:18
  • Plucked from the ranks has the possibility of being more negative than fast track, I'd think. (They describe different processes, in a way. Fast track is more likely to be something regularised, less ad hoc.) If I think of any more, I'll add them.
    – tmgr
    Oct 2 '18 at 11:21
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You could use the term skipped a few rungs.

In context:

Participant Observer: Memoir of a Transatlantic Life, Robin Fox (2004)

Once out of that exhausting climb, you went back down to the bottom of the faculty ladder, and you had still to climb the rungs to tenure before you started on the promotional stairway. He had skipped a few rungs here and there to be sure, but the general principle held.

or:

If It Bleeds, Linda L. Richards (2014)

I'd skipped a few rungs on the job ladder. Gone from student to full-time reporter with her own beat.

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You can use jump in such a situation...

2g : to rise suddenly in rank or status

In your examples, I might phrase it as "the student jumped straight from 3rd grade to 6th grade", and "the employee jumped from clerk straight to department head". (The addition of the word straight emphasizes that there was no other waypoint in the progression; e.g. the student did not complete the intermediate grades in 1 month each, they were skipped entirely.)

It would be up to you to add context defining whether the jump was a positive or negative thing (recognition of outstanding talent vs. nepotistic advancement).

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  • +1 very neutral, exactly what OP asks for.
    – tmgr
    Oct 2 '18 at 20:26

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