war chest


Definition of war chest

: a fund accumulated to finance a war broadly : a fund earmarked for a specific purpose, action, or campaign

Examples of war chest in a Sentence

The candidate held fund-raising dinners to build up his war chest.

Recent Examples on the Web

At far right, Mr. Ryan in 2010, when his NRA grade was 'A.'Photos: Zuma Press; Associated Press The gun-control lobby today has enough money to counter the NRA’s war chest, thanks in big part to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Reid J. Epstein, WSJ, "The Democratic Party’s New Litmus Test: Gun Control," 9 Aug. 2018 His opponents would have to raise roughly $30,000 every day of the race just to equal the war chest that Mr. Maloney could begin with. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, "Sean Patrick Maloney Jumps Into New York Attorney General’s Race," 6 June 2018 How O’Rourke chooses to spend his massive war chest will be a major factor. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Beto O’Rourke fundraised triple what Sen. Ted Cruz did in the past 3 months," 12 Oct. 2018 Forget about those disposable Adam Sandler comedies, or the stunt blockbusters like Bright or The Cloverfield Paradox; Netflix is finally using its war chest of billions to finance movies worth watching. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "With Hold the Dark, Netflix’s Original Movies Are Finally Getting Interesting," 28 Sep. 2018 Their war chest was significantly smaller — $2.3 million, including a $1.8 million personal contribution from Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City. Jan Hoffman, New York Times, "San Francisco Voters Uphold Ban on Flavored Vaping Products," 6 June 2018 Discussion about the midterm elections will dominate as both sides eye polls and campaign war chests ahead of the home stretch. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Government shutdown threat greets Senate's return to DC," 15 Aug. 2018 Standard Sport are reporting that the new boss has been handed a £75m war chest and will use £7m to sign the Poland international. SI.com, "Swansea's Lukas Fabianski Set for Premier League Return as West Ham Look to Complete Summer Deal," 18 June 2018 Jennifer Salke's plans to spend Amazon Studios' $4.5 billion war chest are coming into focus. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Jennifer Salke Details Amazon Plans: Fix Culture, Empower Women, 'Lord of the Rings' By 2021," 11 June 2018

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

1871, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about war chest

Statistics for war chest

Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for war chest

The first known use of war chest was in 1871

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for war chest

war chest


Financial Definition of war chest

What It Is

A war chest is the cash set aside to deal with unexpected changes in a business environment or to take advantage of a sudden opportunity.

How It Works

Uncertainties, unexpected events and opportunities occur regularly in business environments.  In most cases, these events cost money or jeopardize revenues. The ability of a business to handle these unexpected cash needs may mean the difference between success and failure, between new growth and missed opportunities. For example, a business may use a war chest to attempt a takeover of a competitor.

Companies may accumulate cash in a reserve account to handle such contingencies. This cash account, which may be invested in short term and liquid investments, is referred to as a "war chest."

Why It Matters

A company may consider that its ability to quickly borrow cash to handle a contingency is a critical element of its cash management process. The events that cause the need for the cash unexpectedly may create a difficulty for the business in borrowing from a lender.

Source: Investing Answers

war chest


English Language Learners Definition of war chest

: an amount of money that can be used by a government to pay for a war
: an amount of money intended for a specific purpose, action, or campaign

More from Merriam-Webster on war chest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with war chest

Comments on war chest

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


the perfect form or example of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!