noun Law.
fraud by a master or crew at the expense of the owners of the ship or its cargo.
the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up lawsuits and quarrels.
the purchase or sale of ecclesiastical preferments or of offices of state.
Also, barretry.

1400–50; late Middle English barratrie < Anglo-French, Middle French baraterie combat, fighting. See barrator, -ery

barratrous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
barratry or barretry (ˈbærətrɪ)
1.  criminal law (formerly) the vexatious stirring up of quarrels or bringing of lawsuits
2.  maritime law a fraudulent practice committed by the master or crew of a ship to the prejudice of the owner or charterer
3.  Scots law the crime committed by a judge in accepting a bribe
4.  the purchase or sale of public or Church offices
[C15: from Old French baraterie deception, from barater to barter]
barretry or barretry
[C15: from Old French baraterie deception, from barater to barter]
'barratrous or barretry
'barretrous or barretry
'barratrously or barretry
'barretrously or barretry

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 15c., "sale of ecclesiastical or state offices," from O.Fr. baraterie "deceit, guile, trickery," from barat "malpractice, fraud, deceit, trickery," of unknown origin, perhaps from Celtic. In marine law, "wrongful conduct by a ship's crew or officer, resulting in loss to owners," from 1620s. Meaning
"offense of habitually starting fights" is from 1640s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Persons convicted of barratry shall be barred from practice of law.
Appellant was convicted of thirteen counts of felony barratry.
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