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[bahr-ter] /ˈbɑr tər/
verb (used without object)
to trade by exchange of commodities rather than by the use of money.
verb (used with object)
to exchange in trade, as one commodity for another; trade.
to bargain away unwisely or dishonorably (usually followed by away):
bartering away his pride for material gain.
the act or practice of bartering.
items or an item for bartering:
We arrived with new barter for the villagers.
Origin of barter
1400-50; late Middle English, apparently < Anglo-French, Old French bareter, barater (see barrator), with shift of sense
Related forms
barterer, noun
outbarter, verb (used with object)
unbartered, adjective
unbartering, adjective
1, 2. traffic. See trade. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for barter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And up to the completion of the railroad nine-tenths of the business of the Mormon people was conducted on a system of barter.

  • They hit inter th' highway from barter, that's what they done.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • barter did not wish to use any more of his mental energy than was necessary.

    The Mind Master Arthur J. Burks
  • Let us not barter them for the poor comforts of this brief life.

  • The main articles sought by the savages in barter were knives; as fast as some were supplied they moved off, and others succeeded.

    Astoria Washington Irving
  • It looked like paltering and peddling, like sale and barter.

  • It seems incredible that this is what a woman will barter for the right to “live her own life”—surely the most empty of desires.

    The Roadmender Michael Fairless
British Dictionary definitions for barter


to trade (goods, services, etc) in exchange for other goods, services, etc, rather than for money: the refugees bartered for food
(intransitive) to haggle over the terms of such an exchange; bargain
trade by the exchange of goods
Derived Forms
barterer, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French barater to cheat; perhaps related to Greek prattein to do
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for barter

mid-15c., apparently from Old French barater "to barter, cheat, deceive, haggle" (also, "to have sexual intercourse"), 12c., of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Celtic language (cf. Irish brath "treachery"). Connection between "trading" and "cheating" exists in several languages. Related: Bartered; bartering. The noun is first recorded 1590s, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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barter in Culture

barter definition

The exchange of goods or services for other goods or services, rather than for money.

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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