chae·​bol ˈchā-ˌbōl How to pronounce chaebol (audio)
plural chaebol also chaebols
: a family-controlled industrial conglomerate in South Korea

Examples of chaebol in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The entitled chaebol does not actually care about anyone else or even assign much value to human life. Joan MacDonald, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 The Samsung chaebol has deep ties to the South Korean government, so government officials reportedly arranged meetings between Samsung and LG (which is also a South Korean company) so LG could supply larger panels to Samsung to keep the giant competitive. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 14 July 2023 The Koo family is one of a few wealthy clans — along with the Lee family at Samsung, Hyundai’s Chung family and SK’s Chey family — who run the conglomerates known as chaebols that have dominated South Korea’s economy for decades. Victoria Kim, New York Times, 18 Dec. 2023 Then along came the Korean chaebols led by Samsung, followed by smaller, nimbler Taiwanese manufacturers, who together toppled the Japanese giants, just as the Japanese had previously dethroned U.S. rivals such as Fairchild, RCA, Zenith, and Motorola. IEEE Spectrum, 18 Sep. 2014 There was a popular Korean drama titled Super Rookie about a man who becomes a new employee at a chaebol company due to a computer error giving him full marks on his entrance exam. Kate Knibbs, WIRED, 11 July 2023 Shares in Kakao and Naver fell on Wednesday after the head of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party warned them against following the path of the country’s chaebol conglomerates by engaging in monopolistic behavior and ignoring the importance of market competition. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 9 Sep. 2021 South Korean chaebol heiress meets North Korean soldier after a paragliding accident takes her over the demilitarized zone. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 Apr. 2022 Earlier this month, SK Telecom, part of Korean billionaire Chey Tae-won's SK Group chaebol, teamed up with Uber Technologies to launch their own ride-hailing service, ratcheting up competition in Korea. John Kang, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chaebol.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1972, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chaebol was in 1972

Dictionary Entries Near chaebol

Cite this Entry

“Chaebol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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