pyramid scheme

noun

Definition of pyramid scheme

: a usually illegal operation in which participants pay to join and profit mainly from payments made by subsequent participants

Examples of pyramid scheme in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Federal prosecutors would later describe NXIVM as a deeply manipulative pyramid scheme. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Every Major Player From The New HBO NXIVM Docuseries The Vow, Explained," 22 Oct. 2020 Federal prosecutors would later describe NXIVM as a deeply manipulative pyramid scheme. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Every Major Player From The New HBO NXIVM Docuseries The Vow, Explained," 22 Oct. 2020 Some were duped by false scientific claims into paying thousands of dollars for classes in the organization’s insidious pyramid scheme. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "What Happened To NXIVM & Keith Raniere In The End," 23 Aug. 2020 Federal prosecutors would later describe NXIVM as a deeply manipulative pyramid scheme. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Every Major Player From The New HBO NXIVM Docuseries The Vow, Explained," 24 Aug. 2020 Combined with the arrest of a team owner for his role in a pyramid scheme, the unexpected costs immediately crushed the team’s future. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "The short rise and fall of the Northern Knights: Anchorage’s first professional sports team," 2 Aug. 2020 The latest freeze stems from an ongoing suit filed by the FTC, which shut down a different company operated by Cardiff and his wife, describing it as a pyramid scheme. J. David Mcswane, ProPublica, "You Can Make Millions Selling Masks to the Government in Three Easy Steps," 11 July 2020 Many questions remain about others who may have been involved in what more than one person calls a molestation pyramid scheme. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Accusers finally get their say in Netflix documentary 'Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich'," 21 May 2020 The same can’t be said for the masterminds of OneCoin, a pyramid scheme of historic proportions that’s the subject of a fascinating new podcast series called The Missing Cryptoqueen from the BBC. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The Week Hype Broke Our Brains—The Ledger," 2 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pyramid scheme.' 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 pyramid scheme

1949, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of pyramid scheme was in 1949

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pyramid scheme.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pyramid%20scheme. Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for pyramid scheme

pyramid scheme

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pyramid scheme

: a dishonest and usually illegal business in which many people are persuaded to invest their money and the money of later investors is used to pay the people who invested first

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