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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Airbus also faces financial risks from investigations in multiple jurisdictions, including the U.S., U.K. and France, about corporate wrongdoing and the improper use of middlemen to win overseas contracts. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "New Airbus CFO to Face Volatile Cash Flow, Brexit Issues," 21 Nov. 2018 Here are edited excerpts from a recent interview: Cutting out middlemenWSJ: Where did your interest in dividend-reinvestment programs and direct-purchase stocks come from? Chuck Jaffe, WSJ, "A DIY Stock-Investing Pioneer Says DRIPs Still Have a Place," 4 Nov. 2018 Yet bitcoin has been mired in wrangling over capacity problems while permissioned blockchains have gained backing from the very same middlemen that the cryptocurrency was supposed to eliminate. Joshua Oliver, Slate Magazine, "There Is No Such Thing as “the” Blockchain," 5 Jan. 2018 Bitcoin’s blockchain is meant to supplant the powerful middlemen called banks, but in theory a blockchain could replace any kind of institution—a credit agency, a social media service—that exists to safeguard a changing set of historical records. Gideon Lewis-kraus, WIRED, "The Blockchain: A Love Story—And a Horror Story," 18 June 2018 Echoing the proverbial wisdom to cut out the middleman, the president has targeted these intermediaries. Kevin Schulman, STAT, "Mergers between health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers could be bad for your health," 1 June 2018 Generally, villagers capture animals in forests and fields, and sell them to middlemen who hand them off to legal reptile farms. Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, "That Python in the Pet Store? It May Have Been Snatched From the Wild," 9 Apr. 2018 These discounts often take the form of rebates paid to insurers and middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers. Robert Pear, New York Times, "Trump’s Plan to Lower Drug Prices Tests Limits of the Law," 16 June 2018 The drug makers and middlemen have received little to no scrutiny until recently. Irl Hirsch, STAT, "Paying the price for insulin," 17 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of middleman

1677, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about middleman

Statistics for middleman

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for middleman

The first known use of middleman was in 1677

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on middleman

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!