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

But Travis is deeply involved in a cult — Founders American Merchandise, or FAM — that is essentially a pyramid scheme. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, "Kirsten Dunst breaks bad in ‘Florida,’ and it’s good," 21 Aug. 2019 Travis is entangled in a pyramid scheme called Founders American Merchandise. Judy Berman, Time, "On Becoming a God in Central Florida," 20 Aug. 2019 In the dark comedy series, Dunst stars as Krystal Stubbs, a wife and mother living near Orlando, Fla. in the 90s hustling a her way to the top of pyramid scheme. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Kirsten Dunst says working is 'easier' than being a SAHM. Here's what the research says," 6 Aug. 2019 In 2016 Herbalife paid $200 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that required significant changes to the company’s business practices but allowed it to avoid being classified as a pyramid scheme. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Herbalife CEO Richard Goudis Resigns," 8 Jan. 2019 Prosecutors and defense lawyers gave closing arguments in a Brooklyn federal court this week following a trial that has given a disturbing inside look inside Raniere's group, which has been called a cult and a pyramid scheme. CBS News, ""Sex, power and control": Jury to deliberate fate of alleged NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere," 18 June 2019 Why is Miss Dunst’s Krystal Stubbs — a water park employee who cons her way through the upper ranks of a cult-like pyramid scheme in 1992 Orlando — behaving badly? Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Kirsten Dunst gets buck-wild in exclusive On Becoming a God in Central Florida teaser," 21 June 2019 Federal prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed charges against the leaders of cryptocurrency company OneCoin Ltd., accusing them of operating a world-wide pyramid scheme and defrauding investors of billions of dollars. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Prosecutors Accuse OneCoin Leader, Founder of Operating ‘Pyramid Scheme’," 8 Mar. 2019 Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued LuLaRoe clothing last week, accusing the company of pyramid scheme in which thousands of Washington residents have lost money selling clothes. Kate Thayer, The Seattle Times, "Move over, jewelry and leggings. Selling CBD oil is the new side hustle for moms," 29 Jan. 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.

See More

First Known Use of pyramid scheme

1949, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pyramid scheme

Statistics for pyramid scheme

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pyramid scheme

The first known use of pyramid scheme was in 1949

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pyramid scheme

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pyramid scheme

Comments on pyramid scheme

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!