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


government bailouts of large corporations


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

After nearly a decade of recession, Greece closed out its last bailout program a year ago. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "Greek elections are expected to bring a populist experiment to an end," 6 July 2019 If a naval vessel found itself in need of a bailout, the US Coast Guard only has two icebreakers up to the task—neither of which is fully reliable. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "The US is picking a fight with Canada over a thawing Arctic shipping route," 27 June 2019 Warren was then recruited into politics by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who tapped the professor to lead Congress’s oversight of the big bank bailout that took place in the final months of the George W. Bush administration. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign and policy positions, explained," 26 June 2019 Besides the nuclear bailout, HB6 would also gut the state’s clean-energy requirements for utilities, which cost Ohio residential power customers an average of $4.39 per month. Jeremy Pelzer,, "How (un)profitable are Ohio’s two nuclear plants? FirstEnergy Solutions says it can’t tell the public," 24 June 2019 Corporations have repeatedly gotten bailouts and tax breaks. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "Bernie Sanders' College For All Plan—Everything You Need to Know," 24 June 2019 Tuesday’s bond sale was ordered following the visit to Athens by bailout inspectors and after the government survived the departure of its junior coalition partner over disagreement on a deal to normalize relations with Macedonia. Derek Gatopoulos, The Seattle Times, "Greece: strong interest in first bond sale since bailout end," 29 Jan. 2019 This brings us to our second topic: the current farmer bailout. Allan Sloan, Washington Post, "On bonds, bailouts and respecting our fellow Americans," 7 June 2019 Fiat bought a controlling stake in Chrysler following the US government bailout of the company in 2009. Rishi Iyengar, CNN, "Fiat Chrysler withdraws proposed merger with Renault," 5 June 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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Statistics for bailout

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bailout

The first known use of bailout was in 1925

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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



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

Comments on bailout

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