Definition of Ponzi scheme noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

 

Ponzi scheme

 noun
noun
NAmE//ˈpɑnzi ˌskim//
 
 
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a plan for making money that involves encouraging people to invest by offering them a high rate of interest and using their money to pay earlier investors. When there are not enough new investors, people who have recently invested lose their money. From Charles Ponzi, who organized the first scheme of this kind in the U.S. in 1919.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: Ponzi scheme