robber baron


Definition of robber baron

1 : an American capitalist of the latter part of the 19th century who became wealthy through exploitation (as of natural resources, governmental influence, or low wage scales)
2 : a business owner or executive who acquires wealth through ethically questionable tactics

Examples of robber baron in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Compared with these finance guys, the robber barons of the past look like Johnny Appleseed. The New Yorker, "The Mail," 4 May 2020 Critics at the time argued that robber barons such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were elevating their own position in society by depressing workers’ incomes and using philanthropy to dictate where profits went and to which causes. Anna Altman, Washington Post, "The Millennials Who Want to Get Rid of Their Class Privilege," 2 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, the Northeastern robber barons who owned the mills along the river . Rashad Shabazz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Prince Would Not Sound Like Prince Without Minneapolis," 28 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, the Northeastern robber barons who owned the mills along the river built majestic music halls to resemble those in New York and Boston. Rashad Shabazz, The Conversation, "How Minneapolis made Prince," 27 Jan. 2020 The steel magnate and other robber barons warded off political challenges to their monopolies for decades before Woodrow Wilson ended them. The Economist, "The Kochtopus’s garden," 29 Aug. 2019 In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, America had reined in the behemoths built by robber barons. The Economist, "When economists ruled the world," 31 Aug. 2019 The new robber barons of the 21st century … are trying to sell the idea of a third category as something that will allow more flexibility than employment. Los Angeles Times, "Uber, Lyft warn they’ll take the fight over drivers’ status to California voters," 29 Aug. 2019 So all these comments about ‘the robber barons are going to come in and steal our property’ are not true. Karen Berkowitz,, "New pitch for golf practice facility at Highland Park Country Club gets cool reception," 12 July 2018

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

1878, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for robber baron

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The first known use of robber baron was in 1878

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Statistics for robber baron

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Robber baron.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for robber baron

robber baron


English Language Learners Definition of robber baron

old-fashioned : a wealthy person who tries to get land, businesses, or more money in a way that is dishonest or wrong

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with robber baron

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