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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The industry isn’t entirely out of tricks, of course—the main remnant of its former might is political clout and it’s been using it to try to make sure oil majors get plenty of federal bailout money. Bill Mckibben, The New York Review of Books, "Thanks to Climate Divestment, Big Oil Finally Runs Out of Gas," 12 May 2020 Schools such as Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University all received millions of dollars in coronavirus bailout money. Fox News, "Student sues Indiana University for tuition reimbursement as COVID forces shift to online courses," 10 May 2020 The bank bailouts of that era involved huge moral hazard problems, in that the very financial institutions that had fueled a mortgage bubble were being protected from its full consequences. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "How Bailout Backlash and Moral Hazard Outrage Could Endanger the Economy," 4 May 2020 At stake is a package that reportedly could reach $2 billion — larger than the 2008 bank bailout and 2009 recovery act combined. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: March 22-23," 24 Apr. 2020 At the time, housing foreclosures, bank bailouts and recession fears ruled the election-year debate stage. Julia Carpenter, WSJ, "Young Americans Are Still Catching Up From the Last Recession. Now They Face a New One.," 18 Apr. 2020 Conservatives in the Republican Study Committee, a Freedom Caucus precursor, began to insist on offsetting Katrina relief spending with budget cuts elsewhere and ultimately led the GOP conference in a rebellion against the 2008 bank bailout. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Trump's clout hangs in balance as White House grapples with coronavirus," 2 Apr. 2020 With a wary population watching and waiting, Washington labored under the size and scope of a rescue package — larger than the 2008 bank bailout and 2009 recovery act combined. Lisa Mascaro, Time, "Congress Again Fails to Agree on $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package," 24 Mar. 2020 The coronavirus situation thus far bears a marked resemblance to what happened with the bank bailout passed in fall 2008. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Democrats need to play coronavirus hardball," 23 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of bailout


1939, in the meaning defined above


1925, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bailout

Time Traveler for bailout

Time Traveler

The first known use of bailout was in 1925

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bailout

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bailout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up bailout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!