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muckrake

[muhk-reyk]
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verb (used without object), muck·raked, muck·rak·ing.
  1. to search for and expose real or alleged corruption, scandal, or the like, especially in politics.
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Origin of muckrake

1675–85; obsolete muck rake a rake for use on muck or dung. See muck, rake1
Related formsmuck·rak·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for muckraker

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And when the term "muckraker" came into use, I remember his deep satisfaction.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • For some moments the muckraker considered the statement thoughtfully.

    Once Upon A Time

    Richard Harding Davis

  • Muckraker: One who sits on the fence and defames American enterprise as it marches by.

  • It was a relief not to be accepted only as Everett the Muckraker, as a professional reformer, as one holier than others.

    Once Upon A Time

    Richard Harding Davis

  • A loyal Adopted Son of California, a novelist and muckraker, returned a few years ago to the beloved land of his adoption.

    The Native Son

    Inez Haynes Irwin


British Dictionary definitions for muckraker

muckrake

noun
  1. an agricultural rake for spreading manure
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verb
  1. (intr) to seek out and expose scandal, esp concerning public figures
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Derived Formsmuckraker, nounmuckraking, noun
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 muckraker

n.

c.1600, "one who rakes muck," from muck (n.) + agent noun from rake (v.). Meaning "one who inquires into and publishes scandal and allegations of corruption among political and business leaders," popularized 1906 in speech by President Theodore Roosevelt, in reference to "man ... with a Muckrake in his hand" in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" (1684) who seeks worldly gain by raking filth.

The men with the muck-rakes are often indispensable to the well-being of society, but only if they know when to stop raking the muck. [T. Roosevelt, quoted in "Cincinnati Enquirer," April 15, 1906.]

Muckrake in sense "person who hunts scandal" is attested from 1872. To muckrake (v.) in the literal sense is from 1879; figuratively from 1910. Related: Muckraking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper