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 Set in modern-day Los Angeles, the rom-com chronicles the whirlwind romance between the heir to a Korean chaebol, Jaesun (Min), and Ana (Raísa), a Mexican American entrepreneur whose love is pushed to the limits. Todd Spangler, Variety, 22 July 2022 President Moon Jae-in has vowed to overhaul chaebol business practices and his government kicked off reforms last year to improve corporate governance and transparency. Heesu Lee,, 11 Aug. 2021 Neither party took on the chaebol, the giant companies that dominate South Korea’s export economy and often have a cozy relationship with government. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2022 South Korea’s 19 Creative Economy Innovation centers give a glimpse of how this government-chaebol-start-up partnership works. Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Fortune, 25 Feb. 2022 Inevitably, South Korea's chaebol are part of the country's strategy to remain competitive. Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Fortune, 25 Feb. 2022 SK Group, a chaebol best known for its semiconductors and telecoms businesses, took a big step into the hot area of crypto. Ralph Jennings, Forbes, 7 Dec. 2021 Yet Park, too, saw the magnitude of the task and took the easy route: asking the chaebol to help Seoul hasten growth. William Pesek, Forbes, 15 June 2021 Enter Park, whose father essentially created the chaebol system during his 1960s-1970s tenure running Korea. William Pesek, Forbes, 15 June 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About chaebol

Time Traveler for chaebol

Time Traveler

The first known use of chaebol was in 1972

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near chaebol




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for chaebol

Last Updated

27 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chaebol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!