barratry

noun

bar·​ra·​try ˈber-ə-trē How to pronounce barratry (audio)
ˈba-rə-
plural barratries
1
: the purchase or sale of office or preferment in church or state
2
: an unlawful act or fraudulent breach of duty by a master of a ship or by the mariners to the injury of the owner of the ship or cargo
3
: the persistent incitement of litigation

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Tran withdrew her federal suit against Watts for identity theft, but filed another one in state court, along with the barratry claim against him and Hilliard, both of whom deny any wrongdoing. Francesca Mari, The Atlantic, 16 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barratry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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Word History

Etymology

Middle English (Scots) barratrie, from Anglo-French *baraterie, literally, deception, from Old French barater to be active, do business, cause strife, deceive, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *prattare, from Greek prattein, prassein to do — more at practical

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of barratry was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near barratry

Cite this Entry

“Barratry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barratry. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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Legal Definition

barratry

noun
bar·​ra·​try ˈbar-ə-trē How to pronounce barratry (audio)
plural barratries
1
: an unlawful act or fraudulent breach of duty by a ship's master or crew that injures the interests of the ship's or cargo's owners
often used in marine insurance policies

Note: Examples of barratry include embezzling cargo, stealing a ship's equipment, or willfully sinking a ship.

2
: the persistent incitement of litigation

History and Etymology for barratry

Middle French baraterie deception, from barater to deceive, cheat

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