Definition of greenmail in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡrēnmāl/


Stock Market
The practice of buying enough shares in a company to threaten a takeover, forcing the owners to buy them back at a higher price in order to retain control.
Example sentences
  • I was acquiring businesses through leveraged buyouts and greenmail which with more forethought I would have left well alone.
  • They bought off would-be raiders with greenmail.
  • By the mid-1990s, state legislatures had taken the lead in opposing greenmail through legislation.



Example sentences
  • That would eliminate any incentive for greenmailers to acquire stock unless they intended to make a formal takeover bid.
  • Conversely, there's the remote chance of a higher bid if greenmailers try to frustrate the 90 per cent acceptance condition.
  • They were given positions of power within the company and provided enough financial support to make warding off the greenmailers possible.


1980s: blend of green and blackmail.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: green·mail

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