AskDefine | Define stakeholder

Dictionary Definition

stakeholder n : someone entrusted to hold the stakes for two or more persons betting against one another; must deliver the stakes to the winner

User Contributed Dictionary



From stake + holder.


  1. A person holding the stakes of bettors, with the responsibility of delivering the pot to the winner of the bet.
  2. An escrow agent or custodian.
  3. A person filing an interpleader action, such as a garnishee or trustee, who acknowledges possession of property that is owed to one or more of several other claimants.
  4. A person or organisation with a legitimate interest in a given situation, action or enterprise.

Usage notes

The last definition essentially contradicts the historic definitions and hence the word has become a contronym. The last definition refers to one who has an interest in an issue, whereas the initial definitions refer to one who does not have an interest in the property held. The last definition has gained significent use since the 1990s, especially when discussing corporate governance.


person or organisation with a legitimate interest

Extensive Definition

Stakeholder may refer to:
  • Stakeholder (corporate), a person, group, organization, or system who effects or can be affected by an organization's actions
  • Stakeholder (law), a third party who temporarily holds money or property while its owner is still being determined
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