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Robber baron definition is - an American capitalist of the latter part of the 19th century who became wealthy through exploitation (as of natural resources, governmental influence, or low wage scales).
A robber baron or robber knight was an unscrupulous and despotic noble of the medieval period in Europe. The term has slightly different meanings in different countries. In modern U.S. parlance, the term is also used to describe unscrupulous industrialists.
A robber baron is a term that is also sometimes attributed to any successful businessman or woman whose practices are considered unethical or unscrupulous. This can include employee or environmental abuse, stock market manipulation or restricting output to charge higher prices. Grant for preserving the Union (he eventually published the statesman's best-selling memoirs); wrote in favor of rights for African Americans but was fond of telling racist jokes (and co-authored with Bret Harte the grotesquely anti-Chinese play Ah Sin); assailed the Gilded Age yet formed a close personal and professional relationship with the robber baron Henry Rogers; lampooned con men and scam artists .
In the s the term began to be used to describe business tycoons, and the usage persisted throughout the rest of the 19th century. The late s and the first decade of the 20th century is sometimes referred to as an age of robber barons. If you refer to someone as a robber baron, you mean that they have made a very large amount of money and have been prepared to act illegally or in an immoral way in order to do so. COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary.