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white +‎ mail, by analogy with blackmail.


whitemail (uncountable)

  1. (business) A tactic to resist hostile takeover, in which the target company sells discounted stock to a friendly third party.
    • 1991, Michael T. Jacobs, Short-term America: The Causes and Cures of Our Business Myopia[1], →ISBN, page 92:
      Whitemail, which also appears unfair to some, may enhance shareholder value if the outside investor is able to influence management in a more positive way than other shareholders could.
  2. Persuasion based on positive rather than negative effects.
    • 2000, Gore Vidal, The Golden Age[2], →ISBN, page 432:
      Certainly FDR was a master of his own kind of whitemail and practiced it on the likes of Harry Hopkins.

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whitemail (third-person singular simple present whitemails, present participle whitemailing, simple past and past participle whitemailed)

  1. To persuade.
    • 2000, January 2, “Howard Manly”, in Tuning in Memories: Channel Surfing Comes With a Hefty Price Tag[3]:
      Major League Baseball whitemailed ESPN into paying a lot more, and the only thing we can be assured of is that the same old products and announcers will come in clearer in 2000 thanks to digital technology.
    • 2000, Gore Vidal, The Golden Age[4], →ISBN, page 432:
      The ability to whitemail an emotional older man like my father into falling in love with him so that he would help him rise.
  2. (ironic) Of a white person: to carry out blackmail.
    • 1973, January 1, Avenging "Whitemail"[5]:
      Sweating heavily under the hot lights, he started off with a diatribe against British policy toward Uganda, especially London's recent decision to cancel a $24 million aid program, which Amin dismissed as "whitemailing."