verb (used without object), muck·raked, muck·rak·ing.

to search for and expose real or alleged corruption, scandal, or the like, especially in politics.

Origin of muckrake

1675–85; obsolete muck rake a rake for use on muck or dung. See muck, rake1
Related formsmuck·rak·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for muckrakers

Historical Examples of muckrakers

  • The Prince of the Muckrakers' contribution to the literature of awakening.

  • By the second day we had ceased to be human and had begun to act like muckrakers.

    Abroad at Home

    Julian Street

  • He'll make your paper the official organ of the Muckrakers' Union.

    The Clarion

    Samuel Hopkins Adams

  • Muckrakers, prying into the storied past, have destroyed one after another many of the pet characters in history.

    Europe Revised

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • In a few hours there was enough shame around us to have lasted all the reformers and muckrakers I know a whole month.

    Abroad at Home

    Julian Street

British Dictionary definitions for muckrakers



an agricultural rake for spreading manure


(intr) to seek out and expose scandal, esp concerning public figures
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

muckrakers in Culture



Authors who specialize in exposing corruption in business, government, and elsewhere, especially those who were active at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. Some famous muckrakers were Ida M. Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and Upton Sinclair. President Theodore Roosevelt is credited with giving them their name.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.