To profiteer is to take advantage of a situation or a person in order to make money. A landlord might profiteer during a housing shortage by doubling rents.

When you profiteer, you don't just profit — you profit more than you should at the expense of someone else. You can also call a person who does this a profiteer. Profiteers famously take advantage of things like scarce food or ongoing conflicts to make a lot of money. The word existed but wasn't commonly used in English until World War I, when journalists started talking about "war profiteers" who benefited financially from shortages and desperation.

Definitions of profiteer
  1. noun
    someone who makes excessive profit (especially on goods in short supply)
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    type of:
    a person who invests capital in a business (especially a large business)
  2. verb
    make an unreasonable profit, as on the sale of difficult to obtain goods
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    type of:
    benefit, gain, profit
    derive a benefit from
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