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black-mar·​ket ˈblak-ˈmär-kət How to pronounce black-market (audio)
black-marketed; black-marketing; black-markets

intransitive verb

: to buy or sell goods in the black market

transitive verb

: to sell in the black market
black marketer noun
or black marketeer
black marketeering noun

black market

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: illicit trade in goods or commodities in violation of official regulations
also : a place where such trade is carried on

Examples of black-market in a Sentence

Noun The black market in prescription drugs is thriving. They unloaded the stolen goods on the black market.
Recent Examples on the Web
In 2023, for the first time in U.S. history, fatal drug overdoses − most of them from black-market fentanyl − peaked above 112,000 deaths. USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 Garland said the Justice Department was also working to crack down on black-market guns. Robert Legare, CBS News, 3 Apr. 2024 And still others operate in a gray area created by the national trend toward decriminalization, which has reduced risks and increased rewards associated with black-market marijuana. Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, 22 Mar. 2024 Some metals found in catalytic converters are more valuable than gold and the black-market price can be more than $1,000 each, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2024 Jackie is training for a competition in Las Vegas, and Lou, who has a nice little black-market steroid business running through the gym, helps her juice. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 13 Mar. 2024 And the year prior, authorities busted a black-market caviar ring in California. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 7 Mar. 2024 The price of many goods is now set by the black-market value of the dollar, which rose to around 70 pounds to the dollar last month, compared with about 16 before the crisis. Nada Rashwan, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2024 But the legislation, designed to track marijuana transactions and diminish black-market sales, largely failed to factor in mobile-pot businesses. Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024
The character who tried to buy a baby on the black market, spent the better part of a season locked away in a sanitarium and whose sister shot her husband. Michael Callahan, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Mar. 2024 SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet terminals are reportedly being used and traded on the black market. Morgan Haefner, Quartz, 27 Mar. 2024 Enter Dave Fink, a 35-year-old golf teaching pro and L.A. native, who earlier this month popped off to his 200,000 followers on Instagram about a booming black market where brokers charge up to $40 as a booking fee. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2024 But steep taxes on legal products and gaps and differences in laws across states have created the conditions for a massive black market to thrive. Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, 14 Mar. 2024 Gas stations have also shuttered, and the few who can afford to pay $9 a gallon -- more than twice the usual rate -- have flocked to the black market. Compiled Bydemocrat-Gazette Stafffrom Wire Reports,, 10 Mar. 2024 Gilbert warned Wednesday that other states that legalized recreational sales struggled to displace the black market for marijuana, which operates without taxes, regulations or restrictions. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2024 This image provided by the US Attorney for the District of Montana from a court document shows eagle feathers from birds that a Washington state man is accused of shooting to sell their parts on the black market. CBS News, 20 Mar. 2024 Deputies soon became convinced that Chen’s crew, like many others, was trafficking its product on the black market in other states. Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, 14 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'black-market.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1727, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1931, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of black-market was in 1727

Dictionary Entries Near black-market

black mark


black market

Cite this Entry

“Black-market.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

black market

: trade that is against government controls (as of prices or rationing)
also : the place where such trade is carried on
black marketer
or black marketeer

More from Merriam-Webster on black-market

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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