a person who seeks or exacts exorbitant profits, especially through the sale of scarce or rationed goods.

verb (used without object)

to act as a profiteer.

Origin of profiteer

First recorded in 1910–15; profit + -eer
Related formsan·ti·prof·i·teer·ing, adjectivenon·prof·it·eer·ing, nounun·prof·it·eer·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for profiteer

parvenu, upstart, yuppie, DINK, arriviste, vulgarian

Examples from the Web for profiteer

Historical Examples of profiteer

  • The profiteer found a fine field in the manufacture of shoddy.

    The Iron Ration

    George Abel Schreiner

  • It is the profiteer, not privation, that makes man shake his chains.

    A Revision of the Treaty

    John Maynard Keynes

  • It was the policy of the Army not to "profiteer" in the United Kingdom.

    G. H. Q.

    Frank Fox

  • Neither did Hindenburg, nor any German war lord, nor any profiteer.

    Now It Can Be Told

    Philip Gibbs

  • Silas Angmering had evidently been what is called a profiteer.

    Mr. Prohack

    E. Arnold Bennett

British Dictionary definitions for profiteer



a person who makes excessive profits, esp by charging exorbitant prices for goods in short supply


(intr) to make excessive profits
Derived Formsprofiteering, 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 profiteer

1797, but dormant in English until it was revived in World War I, from profit + -eer. From 1912 as a noun. Related: Profiteering (1814).

Or is it simply hysteria which produces what is to-day termed "the profiteer?" It is probable that the modern profiteer is the same person whom we formerly called "the grafter, the extortioner, the robber, the gouger." ["Legal Aid Review," April 1920]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper