greenmail

noun
green·​mail | \ ˈgrēn-ˌmāl How to pronounce greenmail (audio) \

Definition of greenmail

: the practice of buying enough of a company's stock to threaten a hostile takeover and reselling it to the company at a price above market value also : the money paid for such stock

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Other Words from greenmail

greenmail transitive verb
greenmailer \ ˈgrēn-​ˌmā-​lər How to pronounce greenmail (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Greenmail is a recent English coinage, but its history spans a millennium. In the Anglo-Saxon historical records for 1086, we find an early use of a word that still survives in Scottish English as mail, meaning "payment" or "rent." The 16th century saw the appearance of the compound blackmail, which was originally a tribute that freebooting chiefs at the Scottish border exacted in exchange for immunity from pillage. In 1862, the U.S. government began printing paper money using green ink, and soon the word green came to suggest money. Finally, in the 1980s, greenmail was coined by combining green and blackmail to describe a particular type of financial piracy.

Examples of greenmail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That comes out to an obscene $225,000 per job for factory work, proving that neither party, and few states, can control the scourge of corporate greenmail. Dan Haar, courant.com, 7 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of greenmail

1983, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of greenmail was in 1983

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Cite this Entry

“Greenmail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/greenmail. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for greenmail

greenmail

noun
green·​mail | \ ˈgrēn-ˌmāl How to pronounce greenmail (audio) \

Legal Definition of greenmail

: the practice of buying enough of a company's stock to threaten a hostile takeover and reselling it to the company at a price above market value also : the money paid for such stock

Other Words from greenmail

greenmail transitive verb
greenmailer noun

History and Etymology for greenmail

green (money) + -mail (as in blackmail)

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