bail·​out | \ ˈbāl-ˌau̇t \

Definition of bailout 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a rescue from financial distress

bail 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

Conversely, heavy government bailouts would lead to a reassessment of Chinese central government debt levels, and hence a potential repricing of government bonds. Andrew Peaple, WSJ, "Think Local When It Comes to China’s Debt," 31 Dec. 2018 When many of those investments backfired, taxpayers ended up picking up the tab through hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts. Jim Puzzanghera,, "Fed taking first step to scale back Volcker Rule limits on bank trading enacted after financial crisis," 30 May 2018 Politico wrote that two sources named National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow as being skeptical of a coal bailout in particular. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Trump’s coal rescue is getting more complicated," 16 Oct. 2018 Ironically the bankruptcy was so disruptive that Paulson and the rest had to double-down, triple-down, and then quadruple-down on further bailouts. San Antonio Express-News, "When Lehman failed," 29 June 2018 State bailouts of unprofitable power plants, which have harmed customers and the environment, have too often faced little conservative resistance. Devin Hartman, National Review, "A Conservative Energy Reset," 19 Jan. 2018 Greece ended its third straight international bailout in August but has not returned to markets partly as a result of the turmoil created by the budget standoff in Italy and a financial crisis in Turkey. Raf Casert, The Seattle Times, "Greece: Creditors approve U-turn on pension cuts," 21 Nov. 2018 Renault has a 43% stake in Nissan dating back to its 1999 bailout of the Japanese company. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "Carlos Ghosn’s Arrest Sends Shockwave Through France," 19 Nov. 2018 Mayor Luke Bronin’s third budget, released as state lawmakers are fuming over an enormous bailout for Hartford, calls for a drop in spending and keeps the tax rate flat in the coming fiscal year. Jenna Carlesso, Courant Community, "Five Takeaways From Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin's New Budget," 17 Apr. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near bailout





bail out



Statistics for bailout

Last Updated

11 Jan 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 \

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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