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 Japanese technology company SoftBank Group lost more than $6 billion last quarter as its earnings were hammered by money-losing investments, including a bailout for office-space sharing startup WeWork. CBS News, "SoftBank founder admits mistakes with WeWork investment," 6 Nov. 2019 Company cronies initially thwarted attempts at oversight in London, but a government bailout in 1772 following the Bengal Famine and the collapse of Ayr Bank confirmed the crown’s interest in the company, which had now become Too Big to Fail. Iain Murray, National Review, "The Rise of the East India Company Is Not a Cautionary Tale about Corporate Power," 2 Nov. 2019 The travel operator officially collapsed on Sept. 23 after banks and the British government refused its request for a bailout. Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu, Quartz Africa, "The collapse of UK travel giant Thomas Cook will devastate this African country’s tourism sector," 1 Oct. 2019 According to Bank of America estimates, the Fed will need to undertake a further $400 billion bailout by purchasing bonds from the banks over the next year. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "The Fed’s Repo Market Bailout Is a Sign of Deeper Problems—That Are Getting Worse Over Time," 26 Sep. 2019 When the company asked the government for a bailout this time around, the Boris Johnson administration said no. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Bankruptcy of U.K.’s Largest Travel Operator Strands Thousands of Vacationers," 24 Sep. 2019 Tens of thousands of farmers are still awaiting a payout from President Donald Trump's multibillion-dollar agricultural bailout program — and that delay has cost the government more than a million dollars so far this year. NBC News, "U.S. has paid more than $1M in interest for late bailout payments to farmers," 28 Aug. 2019 Critics charged that Tesla's acquisition of the debt-laden company amounted to a bailout of its shareholders—including Musk himself. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "After seven roof fires, Walmart sues Tesla over solar panel flaws," 21 Aug. 2019 The administration has already created a bailout program for farmers. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, "'No recession in sight' says Trump's top economic adviser," 18 Aug. 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

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Bailout.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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