golden handshake


Definition of golden handshake

: a generous severance agreement given especially as an inducement to early retirement

Examples of golden handshake in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The ex-Borussia Dortmund star also wants a 'golden handshake' from United to leave - something the 20-times English top flight champions are refusing to entertain., "Man Utd Hopeful Over Sanchez Deal Despite Mkhitaryan Arsenal Wage Demands," 17 Jan. 2018 The law tolerates golden handshakes or other incentives for employees who agree to retire within two or three years, but even these must be structured carefully to avoid litigation based on a claim of age discrimination. Saul Levmore And Martha Nussbaum, WSJ, "Let’s Agree on an Age to Retire," 22 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'golden handshake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of golden handshake

1960, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about golden handshake

Statistics for golden handshake

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for golden handshake

The first known use of golden handshake was in 1960

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for golden handshake

golden handshake


Financial Definition of golden handshake

What It Is

A golden handshake is essentially a severance agreement between an employee and employer.

How It Works

A golden handshake is similar to a golden boot, which is an incentive package sometimes offered to older workers.

A golden handshake is usually offered to a director, senior executive or consultant who is let go before his or her contract has expired. This situation is most common after the event of a merger, takeover or buyout.

For example, let's assume that John is the CFO of Company XYZ. The board of directors has decided to sell the company to Company ABC. Company ABC already has a CFO, and so John will be laid off after the merger occurs.

Though John will lose his job through no fault of his own, he is able to mitigate the financial consequences of abrupt unemployment because he had a golden handshake clause in his employment contract when he was hired. As a result, John received six months of severance pay after he was laid off.

Why It Matters

A golden handshake offers executives protection from merger-related layoffs and other situations.

Golden handshakes can be controversial, of course. On one hand, golden handshakes often include promises not to sue or work for competitors, which can help companies part with certain employees peacefully and for a fixed cost. Alternatively, they sometimes come across as distasteful when the amount of the severance package is considered excessive or if the employee receives the pay even after gross misconduct.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: 7 Warning Signs of an Impending Layoff]

Source: Investing Answers

golden handshake


English Language Learners Definition of golden handshake

: a large amount of money that a company gives to an employee who is leaving the company

More from Merriam-Webster on golden handshake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with golden handshake

Nglish: Translation of golden handshake for Spanish Speakers

Comments on golden handshake

What made you want to look up golden handshake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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