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black market

the illicit buying and selling of goods in violation of legal price controls, rationing, etc.
a place where such activity is carried on.
Origin of black market


[blak-mahr-kit] /ˈblækˈmɑr kɪt/
verb (used without object)
to black-marketeer.
verb (used with object)
to sell (something) in the black market.
1930-35; v. use of black market Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for black market
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A black market in poisons operated for a little while, but soon pinched out.

    And All the Earth a Grave Carroll M. Capps (AKA C.C. MacApp)
  • If it were in working order it would have been worth close to three hundred dollars—more than that on the black market.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • The black market boys didn't like to have their customers robbed of scientific equipment; it might reflect back on them.

    Damned If You Don't Gordon Randall Garrett
  • The silk was fine and beautiful, unquestionably pre-war and of black market origin.

    Guilt of the Brass Thieves Mildred A. Wirt
  • There still were crooks who thought that the black market dealt in stolen goods of that sort.

    Damned If You Don't Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for black market

black market

  1. any system in which goods or currencies are sold and bought illegally, esp in violation of controls or rationing
  2. (as modifier): black market lamb
the place where such a system operates
to sell (goods) on the black market
Derived Forms
black marketeer, noun
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 black market

1931, from black + market.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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black market in Culture

black market definition

The illegal buying and selling of goods above the price fixed by a government. Black markets usually develop when, because of war, disaster, or public policy, a government tries to set prices for commodities instead of allowing the normal operations of supply and demand to set prices.

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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