bail·​out | \ ˈbāl-ˌau̇t How to pronounce bailout (audio) \

Definition of bailout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a rescue from financial distress

bail out

bailed out; bailing out; bails out

Definition of bail out (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to parachute from an aircraft
2 : to abandon a harmful or difficult situation also : leave, depart

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Examples of bailout in a Sentence

Noun government bailouts of large corporations Verb if the meeting seems like it will never end, find an excuse to bail out the government bailed out the savings and loan industry
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With nearly all of China's 70,000 movie theaters still weeks — if not months — away from reopening, many in the Beijing film industry have begun to hope for government bailouts as the only means of keeping their businesses afloat. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "China's Film Industry Hopes for Bailouts As Coronavirus Crisis Worsens," 12 Feb. 2020 SoftBank's roughly $10 billion bailout of WeWork set a bad precedent, according to Goyal, because the rescue signaled Son's firm is willing to throw good money after bad projects. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Masa Son's big tech dream is fading as more bets sour and key people leave," 11 Feb. 2020 The firm also represented some of the largest financial institutions that received federal bailout money. NBC News, "Buttigieg leads 2020 rivals in Wall Street contributions," 21 Dec. 2019 The group that unsuccessfully pushed for a referendum overturning Ohio’s nuclear bailout law missed a state deadline last week to disclose its campaign donors and spending activity, according to Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Anti-House Bill 6 group misses deadline to report campaign donors, spending details," 3 Feb. 2020 More greed, corruption, criminality, bloated CEO pay, financial crashes and taxpayer bailouts. Washington Post, "Bernie Sanders is a fan of the ‘Nordic model.’ Finland’s leader says it’s the American Dream.," 3 Feb. 2020 Remember Greece’s botched 2015 referendum on the EU bailout terms, which would have meant abandoning the euro? Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Brexit May Make Europe Safe for Democracy," 30 Jan. 2020 Party leader Alexis Tsipras promised to end the ‘‘five years of humiliation and pain’’ that Greece had endured since an international bailout saved it from bankruptcy in 2010., "This day in history," 25 Jan. 2020 Deregulation of the savings and loan associations brought widespread failures and bailouts in less than a decade. Ganesh Sitaraman, The New Republic, "The Collapse of Neoliberalism," 23 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bailout.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bailout


1939, in the meaning defined above


1925, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for bailout

Time Traveler

The first known use of bailout was in 1925

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Statistics for bailout

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bailout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for bailout



Financial Definition of bailout

What It Is

A bailout is financial help for ailing companies.

How It Works

Company XYZ is in the newspaper industry and has seen a dramatic downturn in its advertising sales. The company's board believes that if it can launch an interactive digital version of its product, which has been in development for two years, it could become a viable business again.

Company XYZ publishes the only paper in the county, and Company ABC loves the newspaper. Company ABC agrees to lend Company XYZ enough money to launch the new digital product, and it prices the loan at an interest rate below what Company XYZ could get anywhere else. Essentially, Company ABC gives Company XYZ a bailout.

Bailouts can be loans, but they can also be stock, cash, bonds, or other forms of money.

Why It Matters

Bailouts are essentially monies intended to get companies out of trouble. Often, governments give bailouts to companies whose bankruptcies would cost what the government deems "too many jobs" or cause "too much" damage.

Bailouts are a challenge to capitalism in its purest sense. Critics of bailouts argue, for example, that companies should be left to succeed and fail on their own merits, and that supply and demand in the free markets will always determine the worth of goods and services. Supporters of bailouts argue that bailouts are sometimes the lesser of two evils when it comes to a company failing and displacing thousands of workers.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce bail out (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bailout

: the act of saving or rescuing something (such as a business) from money problems


bail·​out | \ ˈbāl-ˌau̇t How to pronounce bailout (audio) \

Legal Definition of bailout

: a rescue from financial distress

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More from Merriam-Webster on bailout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bailout

Spanish Central: Translation of bailout

Nglish: Translation of bailout for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bailout for Arabic Speakers

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