Definition of golden parachute
: a generous severance agreement for a corporate executive in the event of a sudden dismissal (as because of a merger)
golden parachute was our Word of the Day on 11/12/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
In 1981 an employee of a major company undergoing a corporate merger referred cynically to the huge severance packages given ejected executives as "golden parachutes." It isn't clear whether the employee actually coined the term, but it is well documented that both "golden" and "parachute" were already part of corporate parlance by that time. Since the 1960s, the business world had been using "golden handshake" for a compensatory package accompanying a termination or forced retirement. The image of the parachute, evoking a comfortable and painless landing, may have been inspired by the popular book about career change by Richard Bolles, titled What Color Is Your Parachute?
First Known Use of golden parachute
GOLDEN PARACHUTE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of golden parachute for English Language Learners
: a large amount of money that a company pays to an executive who is being forced to leave the company
Legal Definition of golden parachute
: an agreement providing for generous compensation to an executive upon dismissal
Seen and Heard
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