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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.
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 moratorium
  • The six-month moratorium is producing catastrophic results.
  • In 1986, the commission introduced a moratorium on all commercial hunting.
  • New Jersey currently has a moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crabs.
  • As a result, she's promised to put a moratorium on it.
  • No matter what the final judgment, there is consensus that the "moratorium from routine living" was worthwhile.
  • But to fairly evaluate the moratorium, a broader prospective is necessary.
  • The federal government's moratorium on new deepwater drilling is very unpopular in the region.
  • In their letter they favor a moratorium rather than a permanent ban.
  • The justices never officially imposed a moratorium.
  • Moreover, the increase in revenues is due to a moratorium allowing past evaders to pay.
British Dictionary definitions for moratorium


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 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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moratorium 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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