chae·​bol | \ ˈchā-ˌbōl How to pronounce chaebol (audio) , 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 In South Korea, establishing chaebols was viewed as a way to fast-track the country’s economic development. Washington Post, "South Korea’s Chaebol," 30 Aug. 2019 Charismatic chaebol tycoons like Mr. Shin were credited with engineering the dramatic industrialization that transformed the country into one of Asia’s leading economies after the destruction of the Korean War in the 1950s. Choe Sang-hun,, "‘Chewing Gum Tycoon’ of Lotte Group, Shin Kyuk-ho, Dies at 98," 21 Jan. 2020 The chaebol eventually pushed through a merger between two Samsung companies that cemented family control, despite the opposition of American activist hedge fund Elliott Management. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "The Stock Market Where Family Succession Still Matters," 24 Jan. 2020 Stiff regulation and rigid chaebol supply chains are cages that stifle unicorns. Shuli Ren | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "How Can the Land of K-Pop Fail to Innovate?," 6 Nov. 2019 Opening up a new unregulated zone in which chaebol can conduct business could well upset what little balance remains. David Volodzko, The New Republic, "The Corporate Gangs Who Could Profit From Trade With North Korea," 26 June 2018 Compared to reforming the chaebol, policies to help lower-income workers are easier sells for the government., "Get-Out-of-Jail Win for Lee Hits Reform Push," 5 Feb. 2018 Today, the country’s business world is helmed by hereditarysuccessors, mostly grandsons of first-generation chaebol leaders. Chieko Tsuneoka, WSJ, "Chewing-Gum Tycoon Shin Kyuk-ho Built Conglomerate in Korea and Japan," 23 Jan. 2020 Booms in finance and technology can concentrate wealth in a few hands, such as South Korea’s chaebol chipmakers or Hong Kong’s property tycoons. The Economist, "Asian tigersAfter half a century of success, the Asian tigers must reinvent themselves," 5 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for chaebol

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The first known use of chaebol was in 1972

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Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chaebol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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