category killer

noun

: a very popular or successful product, store, etc., that dominates competitors in a particular category
Their approach delivered search results that creamed the competition's, and it served them up in a simple, quick-loading, no-frills format. It was a stone-cold category killer.Lev Grossman, Time, 22 Dec. 2003
especially : a chain store that dominates the sale of merchandise in a particular category (such as toys, sporting goods, or office supplies) by offering a large selection of products at discounted prices
The big discounters are following another set of retailers that have been making their mark throughout the five boroughs: the so-called category killers, who sell basically one type of merchandise, be it books, apparel, linen or electronic goods. Douglas Martin, New York Times, 11 Dec. 1994
Founded by Charles Lazarus in 1957, Toys "R" Us was the original "category killer"—industry jargon for a chain of large stores that offered low prices on almost every product and brand in its category and killed competing local retailers. Karl Taro Greenfeld, Time, 19 Oct. 1998

Word History

First Known Use

1990, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of category killer was in 1990

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Cite this Entry

“Category killer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/category%20killer. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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