cap·​i·​tal·​ist | \-ist \

Definition of capitalist 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who has capital especially invested in business industrial capitalists broadly : a person of wealth : plutocrat Charitable organizations often seek help from capitalists.

2 : a person who favors capitalism


\ˌka-pə-tə-ˈlis-tik, ˌkap-tə-, British also kə-ˌpi-tə-\
variants: or capitalistic

Definition of capitalist (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : owning capital the capitalist class

2a : practicing or advocating capitalism capitalist nations

b : marked by capitalism capitalist period of history

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Other Words from capitalist


capitalistically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for capitalist

Synonyms: Noun

deep pocket, fat cat, have, money, moneybags, plutocrat

Antonyms: Noun

have-not, pauper

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Examples of capitalist in a Sentence


capitalists who lost everything in the '29 Crash

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Donors in the $100,000 and up category include prominent venture capitalists Ron Conway and Fred Wilson, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and ZCash CEO Zooko Wilson (full list here). Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Coinbase CEO Launches Crypto Charity Fund, Aims to Raise $1 Billion," 27 June 2018 Eventually, Don stopped drinking and started dressing like his father, a cartoon of a Manhattan capitalist, all pinstripes and wide lapels and pastel satin ties. Julia Ioffe, GQ, "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.," 21 June 2018 At its peak, Theranos attracted prominent venture capitalists like Timothy Draper, Ms. Holmes’s former neighbor, and Don Lucas, an early investor in Oracle. New York Times, "Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Indicted on Fraud Charges," 15 June 2018 That may have deterred Silicon Valley venture capitalists from focusing their sights on Oregon. Mike Rogoway,, "Oregon venture capital picked up in 2017 - thanks to one company," 8 Jan. 2018 In yet another jaw-dropping interview that seemed to be broadcast from an alternate universe, venture capitalist Tim Draper tenaciously defended the failed blood testing company Theranos and its disgraced founder and CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Check out this surreal chat with Theranos investor who says he’s “thrilled”," 12 May 2018 Statewide, venture capitalists invested $348 million last year, up 15 percent from 2016. Mike Rogoway,, "Portland startup NurseGrid raises $5.7 million," 18 Jan. 2018 Tim Draper, a venture capitalist who spent more than $1.7 million supporting the initiative, told the court in a letter that there’s not enough time to properly consider the legal challenge to his effort. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "'Cal 3' backer urges court to dismiss lawsuit opposing California break-up plan," 14 July 2018 Tim Draper, the Bay Area billionaire and venture capitalist who sponsored Prop. 9, declined to comment on the suit. Bob Egelko,, "California’s three-way split: Lawsuit may take matter out of voters’ hands," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But in its own capitalist way, the public stock market is democratic: Anybody with money can buy into it and share in its risks and rewards. Felix Salmon, WIRED, "The Stock Market Loophole That Screws the Little Guy," 25 June 2018 But the major appeal of the film, for me, was the willingness to honestly insert race and class as interlocking systems of oppression that keep the capitalist machine going., "Sorry To Bother You," 10 July 2018 By James Loeffler Yale, 362 pages, $32.50 Western Jews lived in capitalist democracies defined by immigration, assimilation and mobility of labor. Martin Peretz, WSJ, "‘Rooted Cosmopolitans’ Review: Of Persons and Peoples," 8 May 2018 But the mingling of business, politics, and unsavory foreign regimes in the Libya-Sarkozy affair should raise questions for advanced capitalist democracies beyond those of tawdry expense scandals or luxury gifts. Nick Hewlett, The New Republic, "Nicolas Sarkozy and the Weakness of Liberal Democracy," 27 Mar. 2018 For all the communist central planning, North Korea is essentially capitalist now. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "Reporter’s notebook: Covering North Korea, daring to hope for change.," 11 June 2018 On a recent visit, your correspondent was asked about the place of civil servants in capitalist society, about how Western manufacturers keep costs down and, inevitably, about Brexit. The Economist, "What life is like for ordinary North Koreans," 26 May 2018 In a capitalist society—even one that pays as much lip service to democratic values as this one—wealth will always be the most important determinant of political influence. Jay Willis, GQ, "Michael Cohen Is Rotten Because the System Is Rotten," 10 May 2018 Robert Sutton, a professor of management science at the Stanford Engineering School, attributes the trend to boring old capitalist greed. Erin Griffith, WIRED, "Travis Kalanick's Return and the 'Bad Boys' Who Always Come Back," 21 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capitalist.' 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 capitalist


1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for capitalist


see capital entry 2


see capital entry 2

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Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for capitalist

The first known use of capitalist was in 1774

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More Definitions for capitalist



English Language Learners Definition of capitalist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who has a lot of money, property, etc., and who uses those things to produce more money

: a person who believes that capitalism is the best kind of economic system



English Language Learners Definition of capitalist (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to capitalism : using capitalism as an economic system


cap·​i·​tal·​ist | \ˈka-pə-tə-list \

Kids Definition of capitalist

1 : a person who has usually a lot of money which is used to make more money

2 : a person who supports capitalism

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Comments on capitalist

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


playful or foolish behavior

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