Word of the Day : November 21, 2014

golden handcuffs

noun GOHL-dun-HAND-kufs


: special benefits offered to an employee as an inducement to continue service

Did You Know?

Chances are you've heard of a "golden handshake," which is a particularly tempting severance agreement offered to an employee in an effort to induce the person to retire early. People started getting "golden handshakes" (by that name) around 1960; by 1976, English speakers had also coined the accompanying "golden handcuffs" to describe a situation in which someone is offered a special inducement to stay. The expression turns up often in quasi-literal uses, such as "slapped golden handcuffs on" or "a shiny new set of golden handcuffs."


It was in the company's interests to offer Janice a set of golden handcuffs in the form of company stock, since her connections and knowledge of industry secrets would not be easy to replace.

"Coffey quit Moore Capital at the age of 41 to spend more time with his family having previously made his name, and a reported $700 million fortune, at GLG, where he turned down a $250 million golden handcuffs deal to stay." - Jamie Dunkley, London Evening Standard, October 8, 2014

Test Your Vocabulary

What golden term refers to a large amount of money that a company pays to an executive who is being forced to leave a company? The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!