Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

TYCOON

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

TYCOON

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:02 pm

• tycoon •


Pronunciation: tai-kunHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Magnate, mogul, plutocrat; a person of great wealth and power, especially a superwealthy, aggressive businessman.

Notes: Today this word is most often applied to businessmen who have amassed fortunes though, as we will see in the Word History, this was not always so. Today the word has a slightly pejorative tinge and is usually reserved for aggressive, highly visible wealthy men. We call Donald Trump and Mitt Romney tycoons, but I think most of us would hesitate using that title for Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.

In Play: The basic meaning of today's word is a very powerful person, who gets his power from his wealth: "Everyone wonders how oil tycoon Robin Banks came by the original venture capital to start up his first company." Robin keeps referring to himself as a "self-made man". He got his start in grammar school when he became a "newspaper tycoon" by buying up all the newspaper delivery routes in town and hiring his friends to operate them.

Word History: Today's word is a title by which the shogun of Japan was described to foreigners to suggest that he was more important than the emperor. It is a Chinese word comprising tai "great, grand" + kun "lord, prince". It was brought back to the US in the wake of Matthew Perry's trade negotiations with the Japanese, which were carried out through the office of the shogun. Perry always addressed the shogun as taikun. When it arrived in the US it was originally applied affectionately to Abraham Lincoln by his cabinet and not so affectionately by his enemies. After World War I its use was limited to business leaders, like J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller. (Today's Good Word was suggested by Faye Beard, a tycoon by no means, but woman with a substantial vocabulary.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3569
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: TYCOON

Postby MTC » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:51 am

Dr. G refers to the "slightly pejorative tinge" of "tycoon," a word which fits Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, but not Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. I feel these are very subjective and revealing calls. For some whether "tycoon" has a pejorative tinge, depends on the person selected. For others "tycoon" is inherently pejorative because of the rapacity and materialistic values needed to achieve the status. Biblical values may play a strong part in the negative judgment : "(I)it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." The negative associations with "tycoon" may later be partially or fully ameliorated through philanthropy. Remember Ambrose Bierce's definition of "Philanthropist: n. A rich (and usually bald) old gentleman who has trained himself to grin while his conscience is picking his pocket." To a pure Marxist (if there is such a thing) "tycoon" would be an overwhelmingly negative word. To a laissez faire advocate "tycoon" would probably have only positive associations. So whether "tycoon" has "a slightly pejorative tinge" comes down to values, no surprise, I suppose.

Personally, I would characterize both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates as "tycoons." If they were somewhat muddied along the path to wealth and power, they have been scrubbed clean by philanthropy for the most part in my subjective view. Mitt Romney isn't rich enough or powerful enough to qualify for "tycoon" status, in my estimate. Donald Trump occupies a special niche as "The Golden Ass."
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: TYCOON

Postby bhall » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:28 am

I was going to joking suggest that, apparently, the definition of a tycoon is a rich person who does not share my political opinions (since Trump and Romney are Republicans and Buffet and Gates are not). :D
bhall
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:16 am

Re: TYCOON

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:33 am

bhall: Welcome to the forum. Post often. People of every or no party are welcome and none of us are dangerous.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: TYCOON

Postby MTC » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:34 am

bhall wrote:I was going to joking suggest that, apparently, the definition of a tycoon is a rich person who does not share my political opinions(since Trump and Romney are Republicans and Buffet and Gates are not). :D


That's good, bhall, right on point. Might even qualify as a mini-lampoon, today's word. I would guess you are a Bierce fan, Ambrose, that is...
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: TYCOON

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:28 pm

Neat, MTC, since you posted several hours before I quoted Bierce under Lampoon! A you a prophet or a son of a prophet?
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2403
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: TYCOON

Postby danebounds » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:07 pm

In "What's the Good Word?" for March 19, 2013, Dr. Goodword wrote, "Today the word [tycoon] has a slightly pejorative tinge and is usually reserved for aggressive, highly visible wealthy men. We call Donald Trump and Mitt Romney tycoons, but I think most of us would hesitate using that title for Bill Gates or Warren Buffet."

I have a degree in computer science with 32 years of experience in information technology. My years of experience would lead me definitely classify Bill Gates as a tycoon. I believe that Warren Buffet's carefully orchestrated image covers his being recognized as a tycoon. I'll have to agree with your assessment of Mr. Trump. But your classification of Mitt Romney is totally wrong.

In addition to my being an information technology professional, I am also a Mormon. Mr. Romney has served for years in various unpaid positions of responsibility in the church and unheralded service to the downtrodden. Although he is worth hundreds of millions, I don't think he could be considered super-wealthy. I believe the Dr. Goodword's political leanings have been made manifest by his/her assessment of Mr. Romney.
danebounds
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:47 pm

Re: TYCOON

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:27 pm

Welcome danebounds, and we hope you will post often. A number of this crew on the Agora have IT in their background or present as you do. My hunch is, Dr G's choice of people was to select those at hand who are well enough known to make his point with all readers. Politics is sparing on this forum, tho it certainly surfaces from all angle from time to time, and mostly with respect for our differences.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2403
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: TYCOON

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:46 pm

danebounds: Welcome. Post often.

As I noted earlier in this topic to another newcomer, we retain our sense of proportion and respect for other people's opinions. Some have suggested we avoid religious and political discussions but I disagree. As long it is done with respect, we religious and political folk have every right to discuss whatever we want. I have not the least idea what the Good Doctor's politics are. I know him as the world’s preeminent linguist and as a Carolina country boy at heart. As Perry suggested, I don't think we should take umbrage at a casual classification of tycoons and not-tycoons. Ignoring the pejorative slant on tycoons, I would consider all of those mentioned to be tycoons. If you would like to discuss each of these men in a private message with me, I will give you a more frank personal assessment of each of them.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: TYCOON

Postby call_copse » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:48 am

I'd classify Gates as more of a technocrat than a tycoon myself - though I would not baulk if I heard him described as the latter. Romney would fit my idea of a tycoon being primarily concerned with money.

Strangely I'd always got the idea from his posting that the good doctor leaned to the right, in a very fair way - but then being European I don't quite get US politics - for instance the use of liberal as an apparent pejorative meaning more properly (in ROTW terms) social liberal, rather than someone who espouses free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property as would normally be understood.
Iain
User avatar
call_copse
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: TYCOON

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:42 am

In the US both parties and both conservatives and liberals agree on almost all those characteristics, even though in the heat of political rhetoric, one can certainly accuse the others of not believing. Unfortunately, our parties are messily divided between economic and social interests. Liberals, mostly the Democrats, seek to expand the welfare state which Europe has pretty well done. Republicans generally favor smaller government and much lower taxes. Socially, many are very strongly opposed to abortion, considering it tantamount to murder, as well as gay marriage. Unfortunately one favoring those two positions, but also favoring smaller government has no place to go satisfactorily. Conversely a welfare statist, opposed to abortion and gay marriage has no comparable party. Currently here, extremists on both sides rule the roost, and compromise is a dirty word. I include this tutorial as an explication of our usage of the words liberal and conservative. Both are perjorative in the mouths of the other.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2403
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: TYCOON

Postby Slava » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:41 pm

A perhaps semi-cognate to our word here is "magnate." I'll go for saying the difference is that a tycoon may just have a lot of bucks from various concerns, whereas a magnate is rich and powerful in a certain realm: coal, oil, paper, etc.

Not to say that they are mutually exclusive.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4693
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: TYCOON

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:05 pm

I'm glad to see we all agree that Donald Trump is a tycoon. I would show reluctance to call Bill Gates and Warren Buffet tycoons because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now larger than the Rockefeller Foundation, the largest in the world--even before Warren Buffet pledged billions to it. It stands at about $36 billion today. Gates once promised to leave his two children only $20 million each, but I haven't seen a copy of his will.

A man that I have in the past called a tycoon, Andrew Carnegie, wrote in the last chapter of his autobiography, "Any man who dies rich, dies shamed." Mr. Carnegie's name appears on more than 1600 libraries world-wide (it even adorns what was Bucknell's first library) and at least one university. I've taken him off my "tycoon" list, too.
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3569
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: TYCOON

Postby call_copse » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:47 pm

Tycoon is one thing I'd call Mr Trump. On the principal that if you have nothing good to say about someone say nothing, I'll refrain from mentioning other epitaphs suitable for deployment in this instance. He is certainly no advert for plutocracy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/de ... isky-award
Iain
User avatar
call_copse
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: TYCOON

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:31 am

call-copse: I read your intent. I think your wording might confuse some. I only marginally understand, "He is certainly no advert for plutocracy." I had to ponder the word "advert" for a while to get your meaning. I have not seen it before. I think we agree that DT is a prime example of plutocracy. I don't think he gives plutocracy a bad name. I think he defines plutocracy.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Next

Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 6 guests