Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈtrād-ˌȯf\

Simple Definition of trade–off

  • : a situation in which you must choose between or balance two things that are opposite or cannot be had at the same time

  • : something that you do not want but must accept in order to have something that you want

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of trade–off

  1. 1 :  a balancing of factors all of which are not attainable at the same time <the education versus experience trade–off which governs personnel practices — H. S. White>

  2. 2 :  a giving up of one thing in return for another :  exchange

trade off

transitive verb

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up trade–off? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a simplified speech bridging languages

Get Word of the Day daily email!