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[mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uh m, -tohr-, mor-] /ˌmɔr əˈtɔr i əm, -ˈtoʊr-, ˌmɒr-/
noun, plural moratoria
[mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uh, -tohr-, mor-] /ˌmɔr əˈtɔr i ə, -ˈtoʊr-, ˌmɒr-/ (Show IPA),
a suspension of activity:
a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons.
a legally authorized period to delay payment of money due or the performance of some other legal obligation, as in an emergency.
an authorized period of delay or waiting.
Origin of moratorium
1870-75; < New Latin, Late Latin morātōrium, noun use of neuter of morātōrius moratory Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for moratoria
  • However, extensions based on development moratoria or litigation stays are not included.
  • Even with the lifting of the moratoria, production in previously restricted areas will not occur for several years.
  • Development and recommendations on establishment of oyster harvest moratoria for certain shellfish management areas.
  • In turn, moratoria may also create hardships for local construction industries and bring negative ripples to local economies.
  • Some commenters propose complete moratoria on any wind development in their communities.
British Dictionary definitions for moratoria


noun (pl) -ria (-rɪə), -riums
a legally authorized postponement of the fulfilment of an obligation
an agreed suspension of activity
Derived Forms
moratory (ˈmɒrətərɪ; -trɪ) adjective
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from Late Latin morātōrius dilatory, from mora delay
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 moratoria

Latin plural of moratorium.



1875, originally a legal term for "authorization to a debtor to postpone payment," from neuter of Late Latin moratorius "tending to delay," from Latin morari "to delay," from mora "pause, delay," from PIE *mere- "to hinder, delay." The word didn't come out of italics until 1914. General sense of "a postponement, deliberate temporary suspension" is first recorded 1932. Related: Moratorial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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moratoria in Culture
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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