mid·​dle·​man | \ ˈmi-dᵊl-ˌman \

Definition of middleman

: an intermediary or agent between two parties especially : a dealer, agent, or company intermediate between the producer of goods and the retailer or consumer

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Examples of middleman in a Sentence

The Internet helps consumers save money by buying products directly from companies and eliminating the middleman. We've cut out the middleman and can reduce prices for our customers. He acted as the middleman in the talks between labor and management.
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Recent Examples on the Web

New companies have raised billions through these I.C.O.s, which allow them to bypass regulators and other middlemen and go straight to investors. New York Times, "Stephen Bannon Buys Into Bitcoin," 14 June 2018 Many of their investments focused on agriculture businesses that improved supply-chain efficiency, generating more revenue for small farmers and cutting out middlemen. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "After Surviving 9/11, Young Investment Analyst Charted a New Career Course," 23 Jan. 2019 Criminal groups may also cut out the middleman and instead recruit unwitting persons to receive goods purchased with stolen card data and re-ship them overseas to the criminal group, who then sell the goods in their home countries. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "E-commerce site is infected not by one, but two card skimmers," 20 Nov. 2018 Some Western academics have been boycotting publishers viewed as profiting unreasonably from their role as middlemen between academics and their own scholarship. Joe Karaganis, Washington Post, "Russia is building a new Napster — but for academic research," 13 July 2018 Avis, in response, has resorted to selling more cars directly to consumers, cutting out the middleman at dealerships to realize slightly higher prices. Kyle Stock, chicagotribune.com, "Car values dropping, underwater loans rising," 21 Aug. 2017 Further mitigating risk for the buyer, StockX acts as a middleman for payment and does not release proceeds of the sale to the seller until the shoes have been verified. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "This Website Is the Stock Market for Nikes and Rolexes," 26 Nov. 2018 Allegations that the commodity trading houses used corrupt middlemen in dealings with Petrobras emerged in November in a report by London watchdog Global Witness. Scott Patterson, WSJ, "Brazil’s Car Wash Probe Eyes Glencore, Vitol, Trafigura for Paying Millions in Bribes," 5 Dec. 2018 Meanwhile, the three food and flavor companies have signed a contract agreeing to buy the vanilla directly from the 1,000 or so farmers in the cooperative, rather than through the middlemen who can take up to a 60% cut for themselves. Aryn Baker/sahabevava, Time, "Vanilla Is Nearly as Expensive as Silver. That Spells Trouble for Madagascar," 13 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of middleman

1677, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for middleman

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for middleman

The first known use of middleman was in 1677

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More Definitions for middleman



English Language Learners Definition of middleman

: a person or company that buys goods from a producer and sells them to someone else
: a person who helps two people or groups to deal with and communicate with each other when they are not able or willing to do it themselves

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