moratorium

[mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uhm, -tohr-, mor-]
noun, plural moratoria [mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uh, -tohr-, mor-] , moratoriums.
1.
a suspension of activity: a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons.
2.
a legally authorized period to delay payment of money due or the performance of some other legal obligation, as in an emergency.
3.
an authorized period of delay or waiting.

Origin:
1870–75; < Neo-Latin, Late Latin morātōrium, noun use of neuter of morātōrius moratory

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World English Dictionary
moratorium (ˌmɒrəˈtɔːrɪəm)
 
n , pl -ria, -riums
1.  a legally authorized postponement of the fulfilment of an obligation
2.  an agreed suspension of activity
 
[C19: New Latin, from Late Latin morātōrius dilatory, from mora delay]
 
moratory
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

moratorium
1875, originally a legal term for "authorization to a debtor to postpone payment," from neut. of L.L. moratorius "tending to delay," from L. morari "to delay," from mora "pause, delay," originally "standing there thinking." The word didn't come out of italics until 1914. General sense of "a postponement,
deliberate temporary suspension" is first recorded 1932.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
moratorium [(mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uhm)]

A period of delay agreed to by parties to a dispute or parties who are negotiating. A moratorium may also be an authorized delay in the repayment of a loan, especially by a nation (as in a moratorium on war debts).

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The six-month moratorium is producing catastrophic results.
In 1986, the commission introduced a moratorium on all commercial hunting.
New Jersey currently has a moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crabs.
As a result, she's promised to put a moratorium on it.
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