pyramid scheme
Pyramid Pyr"a*mid, n. [L. pyramis, -idis, fr. Gr. ?, ?, of Egyptian origin: cf. F. pyramide.] [1913 Webster] 1. A solid body standing on a triangular, square, or polygonal base, and terminating in a point at the top; especially, a structure or edifice of this shape. [1913 Webster]

2. (Geom.) A solid figure contained by a plane rectilineal figure as base and several triangles which have a common vertex and whose bases are sides of the base. [1913 Webster]

3. pl. (Billiards) The game of pool in which the balls are placed in the form of a triangle at spot. [Eng.] [1913 Webster]

4. (Finance) a fraudulent investment scheme in which the manager promises high profits, but instead of investing the money in a genuine profit-making activity, uses the money from later investors to pay the profits to earlier investors; -- also called {pyramid scheme} or {pyramid operation}. This process inevitably collapses when insufficient new investors are available, leaving the later investors with total or near-total losses of their investments. The managers usually blame government regulations or interference for the collapse of the scheme, rather than admit fraud. [PJC]

{Altitude of a pyramid} (Geom.), the perpendicular distance from the vertex to the plane of the base.

{Axis of a pyramid} (Geom.), a straight line drawn from the vertex to the center of the base.

{Earth pyramid}. (Geol.) See {Earth pillars}, under {Earth}.

{Right pyramid} (Geom.) a pyramid whose axis is perpendicular to the base. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pyramid scheme — n. A sales scheme, often illegal, in which a buyer of goods is promised a commission for every additional buyer he or she finds and recruits to be a seller, and in which the people at the top of the pyramid collect payments from all the bottom… …   Law dictionary

  • pyramid scheme — pyramid .scheme also Pon|zi scheme [ˈpɔnzi ski:m US ˈpa:n ] n a dishonest and often illegal way of selling ↑investments, in which money from people who ↑invest later is used to pay people in the system who have already invested …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pyramid scheme — n. a moneymaking scheme in which revenues are derived chiefly by recruiting increasingly larger groups of new salespeople or investors, each of whom pays for the right to recruit others in turn …   English World dictionary

  • Pyramid scheme — The unsustainable exponential progression of a classic pyramid scheme A pyramid scheme is a non sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than …   Wikipedia

  • Pyramid scheme — An illegal, fraudulent scheme in which a con artist contrives victims to invest by promising an extraordinary return but simply uses newly invested funds to pay off any investors who insist on terminating their investment. The New York Times… …   Financial and business terms

  • pyramid scheme — An illegal, fraudulent scheme in which a con artist convinces victims to invest by promising an extraordinary return but instead simply uses newly invested funds to pay off any investors who insist on terminating their investment. Bloomberg… …   Financial and business terms

  • Pyramid Scheme — An illegal investment scam based on a hierarchical setup. New recruits make up the base of the pyramid and provide the funding, or so called returns, given to the earlier investors/recruits above them. A pyramid scheme is initiated by an… …   Investment dictionary

  • pyramid scheme — pyramid (def. 8). * * * …   Universalium

  • pyramid scheme — A high *risk investment system based on small, initial sums of *money Pyramid schemes are often *fraudulent. They function like chain letters, depending on ever increasing numbers of money paying participants to join the scheme: Investors are… …   Auditor's dictionary

  • pyramid scheme — noun An illicit money making investment scheme whereby early investors are paid primarily or wholly by later investors. Eventually all such schemes fail to the detriment of recent (later) investors. Syn: pyramid selling scheme …   Wiktionary

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