cor·​po·​ra·​tion ˌkȯr-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce corporation (audio)
: a group of merchants or traders united in a trade guild (see guild sense 1)
: the municipal authorities of a town or city
: a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession
: an association of employers and employees in a basic industry or of members of a profession organized as an organ of political representation in a corporative state

Examples of corporation in a Sentence

He works as a consultant for several large corporations. a substantial corporation that showed that he was a sucker for all-you-can-eat buffets
Recent Examples on the Web In this case, however, the villain wasn’t a greedy corporation. Dan Kelly, Kansas City Star, 12 Apr. 2024 This is a trivial sum for a railroad corporation posting profits in the billions each year. Pete Buttigieg, TIME, 10 Apr. 2024 Major corporations such as FedEx and AutoZone are based there and the state boasts a thriving auto assembly hub. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 9 Apr. 2024 Without explicitly mentioning it, Japan may also be trying to exert pressure on the Biden administration to allow Nippon Steel, a Japanese corporation, to acquire U.S. Steel, the struggling manufacturer based in Pittsburgh. Motoko Rich, New York Times, 7 Apr. 2024 The climate rule requires public companies to disclose emissions and other climate consequences of their business operations in regulatory filings, a move criticized by corporations and some in the accounting industry as being unnecessary and adding significant operating costs. Dylan Sloan, Fortune, 5 Apr. 2024 Despite the tough climate for independent films, theaters are being saved by corporations from streamers to car companies. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 4 Apr. 2024 However, the Indiana Secretary of State dissolved Indy City Futbol as a limited liability corporation in August 2022 for what appears to be a failure to file annual reports. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Apr. 2024 But corporations aren’t the only ones riding high: The supercharged bottom line of America’s biggest companies may have helped boost the entire country’s economy, keeping people employed, and averting a recession. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 1 Apr. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English corporacion "organization into a body politic, an organized body of people," borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French corporacion, borrowed from Late Latin corporātiōn-, corporātiō (Latin, "physical makeup"), from Latin corporāre "to form into a body" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at corporate

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of corporation was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near corporation

Cite this Entry

“Corporation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


cor·​po·​ra·​tion ˌkȯr-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce corporation (audio)
: a group that is authorized by law to carry on an activity (as a business enterprise) with the rights and duties of a single person

Legal Definition


cor·​po·​ra·​tion ˌkȯr-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce corporation (audio)
: an invisible, intangible, artificial creation of the law existing as a voluntary chartered association of individuals that has most of the rights and duties of natural persons but with perpetual existence and limited liability see also pierce compare association, partnership, sole proprietorship
benefit corporation
: a for-profit corporation whose purpose is to provide a benefit to society (such as improving the environment or promoting good health) in addition to making a profit for shareholders

called also B corporation, public benefit corporation

C corporation
: a corporation that pays taxes as a corporate entity compare S corporation in this entry

Note: A corporation that does not choose to be an S corporation under the Internal Revenue Code is a C corporation.

close corporation \ ˈklōs-​ \
: a corporation whose shares are held by a small number of individuals (as management) and not publicly traded
specifically : small business corporation in this entry

called also closely held corporation

compare public corporation in this entry
foreign corporation
: a corporation organized under the laws of a state or government other than that in which it is doing business
government corporation
: public corporation in this entry
moneyed corporation
: a corporation (as a bank) authorized to engage in the investment, exchange, or lending of moneyed capital
municipal corporation
: a political unit created or otherwise given corporate status (as by a charter) by a superior governing authority (as a state) and endowed with powers of local self-government (as eminent domain)
broadly : a public corporation (as a utility) created to act as an agency of administration and local self-government

Note: As a result of its incorporation, a municipal corporation has the capacity to sue and be sued. Citizens as well as officials are usually considered part of a municipal corporation.

professional corporation
: a corporation organized by one or more licensed individuals (as a doctor or lawyer) to provide professional services and obtain tax advantages
public corporation
: a government-owned corporation (as a utility or railroad) engaged in a profit-making enterprise that may require the exercise of powers unique to government (as eminent domain)

called also government corporation, publicly held corporation

: a business corporation whose stocks are publicly traded

called also publicly held corporation

compare close corporation in this entry
S corporation
: a small business corporation that is treated for federal tax purposes as a partnership

called also subchapter S corporation

compare c corporation in this entry
shell corporation
: a corporation that exists as a legal entity without independent assets or operations as an instrument by which another company or corporation can carry out dealings usually unrelated to its primary business
: a corporation formed for purposes of tax evasion or acquisition or merger rather than for a legitimate business purpose
small business corporation
: a corporation described in section 1361 of the Internal Revenue Code that has 35 shareholders or less and only one class of stock and that may if eligible elect to be an S corporation and taxed accordingly
subchapter S corporation
: s corporation in this entry

Late Latin corporatio, from Latin corporare to form into a body, from corpor-, corpus body

More from Merriam-Webster on corporation

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