golden handcuffs

plural noun

: special benefits offered to an employee as an inducement to continue service

Did you know?

Chances are you've heard of a golden handshake, which is a particularly tempting severance agreement offered to an employee in an effort to induce the person to retire early. People started getting golden handshakes (by that name) around 1960; by 1976, English speakers had also coined the accompanying golden handcuffs to describe a situation in which someone is offered a special inducement to stay. The expression turns up often in quasi-literal uses, such as "slapped golden handcuffs on" or "a shiny new set of golden handcuffs."

Examples of golden handcuffs in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The ‘golden handcuffs’ of low mortgage rates The main tool the Fed uses to manage the economy and implement monetary policy is setting its key interest rate, which influences borrowing costs. Bryan Mena, CNN, 19 Mar. 2024 Apart from price cuts, Zillow’s chief economist stressed that buyers are finding a bit of relief as home prices and mortgage rates ease—and inventory increases slightly with more homeowners giving up their golden handcuffs. Alena Botros, Fortune, 12 Dec. 2023 In the business world, golden handcuffs are financial incentives that are designed to keep key employees or executive managers sticking around. The Motley Fool, Dallas News, 17 Sep. 2023 For an influencer like Musk, attention functions as golden handcuffs. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, 5 Sep. 2023 Simply put: The 2% and 3% mortgage rates—which were a policy outcome of the COVID-19 recession—are acting as golden handcuffs. Lance Lambert, Fortune, 24 June 2023 Some workers may now, post-layoff and with their golden handcuffs snipped, take the chance to find jobs more aligned with their values. Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2023 There has been intense competition for talent with inflated salaries and golden handcuffs locking in talented workers. Fortune, 5 Oct. 2022 Some of us restrain ourselves with another type of golden handcuffs: low mortgage rates. cleveland, 4 June 2022

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

Word History

First Known Use

1964, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of golden handcuffs was in 1964

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Cite this Entry

“Golden handcuffs.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/golden%20handcuffs. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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