whis·​tle·​blow·​er | \ ˈ(h)wi-səl-ˌblō-ər How to pronounce whistleblower (audio) \
variants: or whistle-blower
plural whistleblowers or whistle-blowers

Definition of whistleblower

: one who reveals something covert or who informs against another especially : an employee who brings wrongdoing by an employer or by other employees to the attention of a government or law enforcement agency

Note: A whistleblower is commonly protected legally from retaliation.

I think whistleblowers play a hugely important role in countering the worst corporate and government excesses.
— Damon Poeter … pledges to protect whistle-blowers who fear reprisals for their efforts. Wall Street Journal Congress also added significant new protection for whistleblowers. The 1986 act provides remedies including reinstatement, back-pay with interest, and, as appropriate, punitive damages for whistleblowers who are discharged, demoted, or discriminated against due to involvement with a False Claims disclosure. — Bradford A. Penney

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Other Words from whistleblower

whistleblowing \ ˈ(h)wi-​səl-​ˌblō-​iŋ How to pronounce whistleblowing (audio) \ or whistle-blowing adjective
a whistleblowing report Many states have already enacted laws that protect whistle-blowing employees from retaliation. — Greg Critser
whistleblowing or whistle-blowing noun
… a National Security Agency agent who got in trouble for whistle-blowing. — Reneé Camus

First Known Use of whistleblower

1963, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for whistleblower

Time Traveler

The first known use of whistleblower was in 1963

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Cite this Entry

“Whistleblower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whistleblower. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for whistleblower


whis·​tle·​blow·​er | \ ˈhwi-səl-ˌblō-ər \

Legal Definition of whistleblower

: an employee who brings wrongdoing by an employer or other employees to the attention of a government or law enforcement agency and who is commonly vested by statute with rights and remedies for retaliation — compare qui tam action

Other Words from whistleblower

whistleblowing \ -​iŋ \ noun

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