AskDefine | Define tycoon

Dictionary Definition

tycoon n : a very wealthy or powerful businessman; "an oil baron" [syn: baron, big businessman, business leader, king, magnate, mogul, power, top executive]

User Contributed Dictionary



From 大君 (たいくん, taikun), a title for the shogun.



  1. a powerful business person.



Extensive Definition

A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a mogul, tycoon, baron, or industrialist''', is a person who has reached a prominent place in a particular industry (or set of industries) and whose wealth has been derived primarily therefrom. Such people usually amass substantial fortunes in the process, and tend to become widely known in connection with their business(es) or through other pursuits such as philanthropy. The terms "mogul", "tycoon" and "baron" were often attributed to late 19th and early 20th century North American business magnates in extractive industries such as mining, logging and petroleum, transportation fields such as shipping and railroads, manufacturing—including steelmaking, banking, and newspaper publishing. This era was known as the Second Industrial Revolution or the Gilded Age.
Examples of well-known business magnates include utility and transportation magnate Samuel Insull, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst of the Hearst Corporation, oil magnate John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil, steel magnate Lakshmi Nivas Mittal of Mittal Steel, diamond magnate André A. Jackson of JFPI Corporation and software magnate Bill Gates of Microsoft.
In Russia and some other post-Soviet countries, the term "business oligarch" has become popular.


The word tycoon is derived from the Japanese word , which means "great lord," and it was used as a title for the shogun. The word entered the English language in the nineteenth century with the return of Commodore Perry to the United States. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was humorously referred to as the Tycoon by his aides John Nicolay and John Hay. The term spread to the business community, where it has been used ever since.
The word mogul originally meant Mongol, or person of Mongolian descent. In this context, it refers to the Mughal Empire (mughal is the Indo-Aryan spelling of mogul) of India that existed between 1526 and 1857. The early emperors of Mughal claimed themselves descendants of Mongol ruler Genghis Khan and adopted a Mongolian identity. The modern meaning of the word is supposedly derived from the excessive riches of the Mughal emperors, which for example produced the Taj Mahal.
The word magnate itself derives from the Latin word magnates (plural of magnas), meaning "great person" or "great nobleman."
As the term industrialist (from the English word industry) was more widely used in the context of "old world" industries such as steel, oil, newspapers, shipping and rail transport, it has largely been superseded by the other, more modern terms that encompass a wider range of business and commercial activity.
tycoon in Catalan: Tycoon
tycoon in German: Tycoon
tycoon in Spanish: Magnate
tycoon in French: Tycoon
tycoon in Dutch: Magnaat
tycoon in Slovenian: Tajkun
tycoon in Serbian: Тајкун
tycoon in Swedish: Industrialist
tycoon in Chinese: 大亨

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dalai Lama, Establishment, Holy Roman Emperor, Inca, Kaiser, VIP, ardri, banker, baron, bey, big boss, big businessman, big cheese, big gun, big man, big name, big shot, big wheel, big-time operator, big-timer, bigwig, billionaire, brass, brass hat, business leader, businessman, cacique, caesar, captain of industry, celebrity, cham, czar, dignitary, dignity, director, elder, enterpriser, entrepreneur, father, figure, financier, great man, important person, industrialist, interests, kaid, khan, king, lion, little businessman, lords of creation, magnate, man of commerce, man of mark, manager, merchant, merchant prince, mikado, mogul, multimillionaire, nabob, name, negus, notability, notable, padishah, panjandrum, pendragon, person of renown, personage, personality, pharaoh, pillar of society, potentate, power, power elite, prince, rig, ruling circle, sachem, sagamore, shah, sheikh, shogun, somebody, something, tenno, the great, the top, top brass, top executive, top people, very important person, wheeler-dealer, worthy
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