[mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uhm, -tohr-, mor-]
noun, plural moratoria [mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uh, -tohr-, mor-] , moratoriums.
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.

1870–75; < Neo-Latin, Late Latin morātōrium, noun use of neuter of morātōrius moratory Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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]

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

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.

Latin plural of moratorium.
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
However, extensions based on development moratoria or litigation stays are not
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.
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