bean counter


usually disparaging
: a person involved in corporate or government financial decisions and especially one reluctant to spend money

Example Sentences

He blames corporate bean counters for causing thousands of workers to lose their jobs.
Recent Examples on the Web The young bean counter had a surprising solution: Get more aggressive. Christopher Helman, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 Hubble, Kepler — have been, instead of a bean counter? New York Times, 20 Oct. 2021 If time with a bean counter sounds like a return to the scintillating Fred Creighton days, that’s not entirely accurate, because the tidy, soft-spoken Creighton was canned as coach only seven games prior to the start of the ’80 playoffs., 21 Mar. 2021 County bean counters are calling for all departments to make 20 percent cuts across-the-board. Jason Williams,, 10 Apr. 2020 Now, this offseason, the 49ers’ bean counters figure to express their appreciation for the contributions made by Kittle and Buckner. Eric Branch,, 19 Feb. 2020 Based on that, its bean counters determined that — at its current rate of 2,300 meals a day — the 45 millionth meal would get dished up sometime this week. Steve Rubenstein,, 4 Mar. 2020 In fact, the whole special pathogens program was always in the crosshairs of government bean counters. Helen Branswell, STAT, 7 Jan. 2020 His adversaries call him a shill for health insurers, a bloodless bean counter who would rather let some sick people die than see them get expensive life-saving medicines. Jonathan Saltzman,, 19 June 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bean counter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bean counter was in 1971

Dictionary Entries Near bean counter

Cite this Entry

“Bean counter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

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