A whistleblower is someone who reveals illegal activity that's been going on at their workplace. By making their allegations, most whistleblowers put their jobs in jeopardy.

Whistleblowers have exposed all kinds of wrongdoing at both private companies and government agencies, from fraud and illegal hiring practices to corruption and public health dangers. Many historians consider Benjamin Franklin to be the first U.S. whistleblower, for leaking letters between British officials, an action that was seen as a step toward revolution. The term wasn't applied to the act of revealing secret information until the 1970s, when activist Ralph Nader used it lieu of negative words like "snitch."

Definitions of whistleblower
  1. noun
    an informant who exposes wrongdoing within an organization in the hope of stopping it
    “the law gives little protection to whistleblowers who feel the public has a right to know what is going on”
    “the whistleblower was fired for exposing the conditions in mental hospitals”
    synonyms: whistle blower, whistle-blower
    see moresee less
    type of:
    informant, source
    a person who supplies information
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week