barter

verb
bar·​ter | \ ˈbär-tər How to pronounce barter (audio) \
bartered; bartering; barters

Definition of barter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to trade by exchanging one commodity for another : to trade goods or services in exchange for other goods or services farmers bartering for supplies with their crops bartered with the store's owner

transitive verb

: to trade or exchange by or as if by bartering bartering work for food

barter

noun

Definition of barter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or practice of trading goods or services for other goods or services : the act or practice of carrying on trade by bartering
2 : goods or services that are traded for other goods or services : the thing given in exchange in bartering

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from barter

Verb

barterer \ ˈbär-​tər-​ər How to pronounce barterer (audio) \ noun

Examples of barter in a Sentence

Noun

The tribes use a system of barter. The explorers used blankets and other supplies for barter to get food from the native people.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The outdoor marketplace, which consisted of about 25 booths, was a spot between two campgrounds where people traded, bartered and purchased goods and was also a popular rendezvous point for festival goers. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Are Finding Woodstock Really Did Take On Life of Its Own," 27 June 2019 The new Terrestrial Plant Rule lists dame's rocket and 43 other plants that are not to be sold, gifted, bartered, exchanged, distributed, transported or introduced in Indiana. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Common problems challenge gardeners," 25 July 2019 Don't forget to negotiate Just like bartering at a garage sale, there's often a little wiggle room on both leases and vehicle financing. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "Leasing vs. Buying a Car: How to Decide What's Right for You," 1 Aug. 2019 That’s what social media is: a sad, sprawling bazaar in which attention is exchanged and bartered. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Among the Chimps," 28 July 2019 Quaint Cotuit is one of seven villages in the town of Barnstable and according to legend, more than 300 years ago Native Americans bartered with early settlers for the current land. Bill Higgins, BostonGlobe.com, "Cape Cod baseball, where the grass is real and the price is right," 16 July 2019 Meanwhile, bush meat markets still see locals bartering for the animals, both dead and alive. Washington Post, "Congo’s Ebola outbreak poses challenges for bush meat," 17 June 2018 That is up from zero in the 1990s, when famine pushed North Koreans to start bartering and trading in black markets to survive. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "At Trump-Kim Summit, Host Vietnam Blazes Trail for North Korea," 23 Feb. 2019 For example, the market for national security payloads and NASA missions (James Webb is a notable exception, bartered between NASA and ESA) are typically closed to Arianespace. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "As the SpaceX steamroller surges, European rocket industry vows to resist," 20 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In January Britain spearheaded, with France and Germany, the creation of Instex, a barter mechanism to enable certain Europe-Iran transactions, particularly for humanitarian supplies. The Economist, "What Britain’s release of an Iranian tanker says about its post-Brexit foreign policy," 22 Aug. 2019 In addition to trade with China, Iran is especially keen on the activation of a barter-type system set up by the Europeans that would allow the continent's businesses to trade with Tehran without violating the U.S. sanctions. CBS News, "World diplomats hold talks in Vienna in effort to salvage Iran nuclear deal," 28 July 2019 In addition to trade with China, Iran is especially keen on the activation of a barter-type system set up by the Europeans that would allow the continent's businesses to trade with Tehran without violating the U.S. sanctions. NBC News, "World powers try to save nuclear deal amid mounting tensions between U.S. and Iran," 28 July 2019 With France and Germany, Britain sought to set up a barter system to get food, medicine and other goods to Iran, noting that they were not banned by the unilateral American sanctions. New York Times, "Trump and Johnson: Allies in Disruption," 23 July 2019 Germany, Britain and France, three of the remaining parties to the deal, are working on a barter system that would allow European businesses to trade with Iran. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "The future of the Iranian nuclear deal could hinge on one key detail," 2 July 2019 European powers still on board the deal are setting up a barter-type system known as INSTEX to trade with Tehran. Washington Post, "The Latest: Top UK diplomat hopes Iran deal can be salvaged," 15 July 2019 There were many meetings on the design of a barter system that might allow Iran to swap oil for other goods, evading US sanctions. David E. Sanger, BostonGlobe.com, "Iran announces new breach of nuclear deal," 7 July 2019 There were many meetings on the design of a barter system that might allow Iran to swap oil for other goods, evading American sanctions. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Iran Announces New Breach of Nuclear Deal Limits and Threatens Further Violations," 7 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of barter

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for barter

Verb

Middle English bartren, from Anglo-French *bareter to do business, exchange, alteration of Old French barater — more at barratry

Noun

Middle English, noun derivative of bartren "to barter entry 1"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about barter

Dictionary Entries near barter

Bartangi

bartender

bartendress

barter

Barth

Barthianism

barthite

Statistics for barter

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for barter

The first known use of barter was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for barter

barter

noun

Financial Definition of barter

What It Is

A barter (or bartering) is an exchange between two parties using goods and services for payment instead of currency.

How It Works

The barter system enables two parties to exchange goods or services based on mutually perceived value.

To illustrate, a plumber can fix a baker’s sink, for which the baker would normally have paid $100 for the service. Instead, the baker gives the plumber $100 worth of his baked goods.

Another example would be a photographer agreeing to photograph a dentist's wedding pictures in return for some dental work of equal value.

These transactions do not involve any exchange of currency, however, each party benefits from the transaction.

Why It Matters

People have bartered for goods and services since the dawn of civilization. Historically the barter system has been employed in times of financial crisis when currencies are unstable or when there is no common currency.

In addition, bartering is especially useful for parties that don't have a strong cash position that would normally be used to pay for goods or services.

Source: Investing Answers

barter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of barter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to exchange things (such as products or services) for other things instead of for money

barter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of barter (Entry 2 of 2)

: a system in which goods or services are exchanged for other goods or services instead of for money
: goods or services that are exchanged for other goods or services

barter

verb
bar·​ter | \ ˈbär-tər How to pronounce barter (audio) \
bartered; bartering

Kids Definition of barter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to trade by exchanging one thing for another without the use of money

Other Words from barter

barterer \ ˈbär-​tər-​ər \ noun

barter

noun

Kids Definition of barter (Entry 2 of 2)

: the trade of one thing for another

Keep scrolling for more

bar·​ter | \ ˈbär-tər How to pronounce barter (audio) \

Legal Definition of barter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to trade by exchanging one commodity or service for another

transitive verb

: to trade or exchange by or as if by bartering — compare sell

barter

noun

Legal Definition of barter (Entry 2 of 2)

: the art or practice of carrying on trade or exchange by or as if by bartering : exchange of one commodity or service for another — compare sale

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on barter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with barter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for barter

Spanish Central: Translation of barter

Nglish: Translation of barter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barter for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about barter

Comments on barter

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

WORD OF THE DAY

concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!