Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:


muck +‎ raker. Believed to have been coined following a 1906 speech by United States President Theodore Roosevelt, in which he likened the investigative journalist to ‘the Man with the Muck-rake’, a character in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.[1]


muckraker (plural muckrakers)

  1. (US) One who investigates and exposes issues of corruption that often violate widely held values; e.g. one who exposes political corruption or the poor conditions in prisons.
    Synonym: investigative journalist
    • 2018 August 31, Tyler Pager; Jaclyn Peiser, “The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes”, in The New York Times[1]:
      The paper gave a start to the theater critic Hilton Als and the novelist Colson Whitehead, both recipients of the Pulitzer Prize. Its resident muckraker, Wayne Barrett, took aim at New York developers and politicians for nearly 40 years, and his obsessive work on Donald J. Trump has become a resource for reporters covering the president today.
  2. (US, historical) One of a group of American investigative reporters, novelists and critics of the Progressive Era (the 1890s to the 1920s).
    • 1911, Rex Beach, Ne'er-Do-Well[2]:
      "Oh, in many ways. There are two classes of people who are not welcomed on the Canal Zone—magazine writers and applicants for positions who have political influence back of them. The former are regarded as muckrakers, the latter as spies."
    • 1912, Upton Sinclair, The Machine[3]:
      "Lady," says he, "the goil's nutty! You got a bughouse patient on your bands! This here talk about the white-slave traffic, ma'am… it's all the work o' these magazine muckrakers!"
  3. (Britain, derogatory) A sensationalist, scandalmongering journalist, one who is not driven by any social principles.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Theodore Roosevelt (1906) The Man with the Muck Rake: “The men with the muck rakes are often indispensable to the well being of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck, and to look upward to the celestial crown above them, to the crown of worthy endeavor.”