noun, plural mid·dle·men.
  1. a person who plays an economic role intermediate between producer and retailer or consumer.
  2. a person who acts as an intermediary.

Origin of middleman

1400–50; late Middle English: maker of girdles; see middle, man1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for middlemen

Contemporary Examples of middlemen

Historical Examples of middlemen

  • "Down with the middlemen," he cried, and was applauded vigorously.

    A Spoil of Office

    Hamlin Garland

  • Basil and François were, of course, the “middlemen,” and plied the paddles.

  • Millions are wasted in advertising and in the profits of middlemen.


    Henry Kalloch Rowe

  • There are no capitalists and no middlemen, and production is only "for use," not "for profit."

    British Socialism

    J. Ellis Barker

  • If you plunder all capitalists and all middlemen, the workers will certainly not be better off.

    British Socialism

    J. Ellis Barker

British Dictionary definitions for middlemen


noun plural -men
  1. an independent trader engaged in the distribution of goods from producer to consumer
  2. an intermediary
  3. theatre the interlocutor in minstrel shows
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for middlemen



in the trading sense, 1795, from middle + man. From mid-15c. as the name of some type of workman in wire-making. From 1741 as "one who takes a middle course."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper