white knight


Definition of white knight 

1 : one that comes to the rescue of another especially : a corporation invited to buy out a second corporation in order to prevent an undesired takeover by a third

2 : one that champions a cause

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Examples of white knight in a Sentence

a deserving cause in need of a charismatic white knight who will galvanize public support

Recent Examples on the Web

But at the last minute, a mysterious white knight intervened — a Libyan businessman with powerful connections, she was told — and she was sprung from jail. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Foreign Belly Dancers? Egyptians Shake Their Heads (and Hips)," 8 July 2018 China took control of Anbang Insurance, owner of the Waldorf Astoria and one-time potential white knight to the Kushners. Ayesha Sruti, Bloomberg.com, "Everything You Need to Know This Morning From Daybreak (Podcast)," 23 Feb. 2018 Perhaps some physician group would like to ride in like a white knight and provide the funding to keep the NGC alive. Ivan Oransky, STAT, "Trump administration is shutting down practice-guidelines clearinghouse for doctors," 13 June 2018 Sometimes all a town needs is a white knight in a black BMW. Bob Morris, Town & Country, "Is Buying an Entire Town the Next Status Symbol For the Ultra-Wealthy?," 20 Oct. 2017 When Mitt Romney first began to explore a bid for a Utah Senate seat, a certain segment of #resistance Twitter cheered the notion of Romney as white knight, standing triumphantly in the ruinous path of one Donald Trump. Tina Nguyen, The Hive, "No, Mitt Romney Isn’t Joining the #Resistance," 2 May 2018 How difficult to be a white knight in a fallen world! Karl Rove, WSJ, "Comey’s Loyalty Isn’t to the Truth," 25 Apr. 2018 In Taxi Driver, Travis sees Iris slathering jam on her toast, which solidifies his vision of her as a child and himself as her white knight. Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader, "You Were Never Really Here updates Taxi Driver to an even colder urban landscape," 12 Apr. 2018 Property tycoon Sun Hongbin has played the white knight for troubled companies. Dominique Fong, WSJ, "Chinese Developer Cuts Losses After Tech Rescue Mission Fails," 29 Mar. 2018

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

1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of white knight was in 1628

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More Definitions for white knight

white knight


Financial Definition of white knight

What It Is

A white knight is a company that acquires another company that is trying to avoid acquisition by a third party.

How It Works

For example, let's assume that Company XYZ wants to acquire Company ABC. Company ABC feels that Company XYZ is a hostile bidder and will ruin the company. As a result, Company ABC's directors go on the offensive and tell the shareholders that a sale to Company XYZ would not be a good thing.

Company 123, which has worked with Company ABC for years and has a good relationship with its board, sees an opportunity to "save" Company ABC from the tense situation and make a lucrative acquisition at the same time. Company ABC welcomes Company 123's bid and merges with it to avoid acquisition by Company XYZ. Company 123 is a white knight.

Why It Matters

White knights make acquisitions on friendly terms. White knights are white because they are associated with goodness and virtue.

Source: Investing Answers

white knight


English Language Learners Definition of white knight

: someone or something that rescues or saves another person or thing from a bad situation; especially : a company that buys a second company in order to prevent it from being taken over by a third company

white knight


Legal Definition of white knight 

: a party (as a corporation) invited to take over a corporation and thereby prevent its acquisition by another — compare raider

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