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

Lohengrin is no longer the white knight of the Holy Grail who rides in on a swan to save Elsa, falsely accused of murdering her younger brother and heir to the throne of Brabant. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: How two top directors are teaching Europe the L.A. School of Opera," 23 Aug. 2019 Equally predictably, the white knights of outrage launch their counterassault catapults toward an overbroad range of targets and inflict extensive collateral damage. Danielle Allen, Twin Cities, "Danielle Allen: Don’t fall into Trump’s trap," 23 July 2019 Although the book is billed as the fifth installment in the Brodie series, the brooding, modern-day white knight isn't the protagonist of this alternately depressing, inspiring and slyly funny tale. Bruce Desilva, Dallas News, "A vile conspiracy is taken down in long-awaited novel 'Big Sky'," 25 June 2019 As Instagram’s user base continues to swell, Systrom increasingly gets viewed as Facebook’s white knight, with his division expected to supply a healthy portion of the parent company’s growth. Seth Stevenson, WSJ, "Instagram’s Kevin Systrom on the Platform He Built for One Billion Users," 25 Sep. 2018 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

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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Statistics for white knight

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for white knight

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

More from Merriam-Webster on white knight

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with white knight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for white knight

Comments on white knight

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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