chae·​bol | \ˈchā-ˌbōl, ˈje-ˌbəl\
plural chaebol also chaebols

Definition of chaebol 

: a family-controlled industrial conglomerate in South Korea

Examples of chaebol in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Mr Kim’s downfall is the latest setback for President Moon Jae-in’s ambitious chaebol reforms. The Economist, "Politicians’ battle against Korean conglomerates hits a snag," 26 Apr. 2018 South Korea often brims with schadenfreude when a chaebol scion is publicly humiliated. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "Sister of Korean ‘Nut Rage’ Heiress Accused of Throwing Her Own Tantrum," 13 Apr. 2018 Allegations of inappropriate behaviour against senior prosecutors, chaebol owners and board members there have since come to light as more women are feeling empowered. The Economist, "The best—and worst—places to be a working woman," 15 Feb. 2018 The South Korean government has for decades made faster internet speeds a priority, and the country's chaebols (South Korean equivalents of conglomerates) have followed suit. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "South Korea's Already Great Internet Gets Even Greater," 10 May 2018 Corporate-governance experts have criticized the structure for giving too much power to Hyundai’s chaebol owners. Julie Steinberg, WSJ, "Elliott Management Reveals Over $1 Billion Stake in Hyundai, Seeks Clearer Road Map," 4 Apr. 2018 Read more here about South Korea’s effort to reform chaebol. Sohee Kim,, "Korean Tycoon Jailed in Bribery Case That Toppled a President," 13 Feb. 2018 Lee’s sentence, while less severe than the 12-year jail term prosecutors sought, was one of the harshest sentences for a chaebol leader. Sohee Kim,, "Prosecutors Try to Jail 95-Year-Old Lotte Founder for Decade," 1 Nov. 2017 The vast majority of people on the minimum wage work at smaller businesses, not chaebol. The Economist, "Promising the MoonSouth Korea tries to boost the economy by hiking the minimum wage," 12 Oct. 2017

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

1972, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chaebol

Korean chaebŏl, from chae wealth, property + pŏl faction, clan

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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The first known use of chaebol was in 1972

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by force of circumstances

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