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

Park’s successor, Moon Jae-in, made chaebol reform a central plank of his election campaign. Heejin Kim,, "Paul Singer Unnerves Korea’s Billionaires Whether He Wins or Loses," 21 Mar. 2019 Over the decades, numerous chaebol executives have been paraded into courts on bribery and other charges. Choe Sang-hun And Raymond Zhong, New York Times, "Samsung Heir Freed, to Dismay of South Korea’s Anti-Corruption Campaigners," 5 Feb. 2018 South Koreans covet jobs at chaebol companies, which are among the most lucrative in the country. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "Sister of Korean ‘Nut Rage’ Heiress Accused of Throwing Her Own Tantrum," 13 Apr. 2018 Despite high hopes for President Moon Jae-in’s administration, corporate reform in South Korea appears to have stalled, with big chaebols such as Samsung and Hyundai carrying on largely as before. Andrew Peaple, WSJ, "Investors in Asia Need All the Help They Can Get," 5 Dec. 2018 Vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the apparent heir to the entire chaebol, Jay Y. Lee, was released from prison in February after winning an appeal following his conviction of perjury, embezzlement, and bribery. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Samsung," 26 Dec. 2018 Moon Jae-in, the country’s leader since May 2017, has vowed to loosen the cozy relationship between South Korea’s business empires—known as chaebols—and government. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "Former South Korean President Sentenced to 15 Years in Jail," 5 Oct. 2018 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

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

15 Jul 2019

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The first known use of chaebol was in 1972

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