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

Definition of black-market

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to buy or sell goods in the black market

transitive verb

: to sell in the black market

black market


Definition of black market (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from black-market


black marketer or black marketeer \ ˈblak-​ˌmär-​kə-​ˈtir How to pronounce black marketeer (audio) \ noun
black marketeering \ ˈblak-​ˌmär-​kə-​ˈtir-​iŋ How to pronounce black marketeering (audio) \ noun

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: Noun Pheasey was also aware that poachers would likely arrive that night or the next to swipe sea turtle eggs, which are rumored to have aphrodisiac qualities and are sold on the black market as food. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, "3-D Printed Sea Turtle Eggs Reveal Poaching Routes," 6 Oct. 2020 So far, most marijuana/cannabis use is on the black market, but attitudes and laws are changing. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "From cannabis to cars: 5 industries that might offer long-term investment potential," 4 Oct. 2020 Indeed the black market is flourishing, as larger numbers of frustrated South Africans are brewing their own beer or straight up bootlegging. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "Amid Domestic Alcohol Bans, South Africa's Winemakers Are Struggling," 13 Aug. 2020 By some estimates, the black market supplies more than 75 percent of sales in the state. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oceanside puts cannabis business tax on Nov. 3 ballot," 7 Aug. 2020 Poachers are considered unlikely culprits because the dead elephants retained their ivory tusks, which fetch top dollar on the black market. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Toxic Algae Caused Mysterious Widespread Deaths of 330 Elephants in Botswana," 23 Sep. 2020 As long as there is an active black market (read: free market) for a currency and data are available, changes in the black-market exchange rate can be reliably transformed into accurate measures of countrywide inflation rates. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of August 10," 14 Aug. 2020 Lawmakers are wary of pushing tax rates in Connecticut too high, saying that state residents would skip over the border to Massachusetts or continue buying on the black market. Christopher Keating,, "Study: Legal marijuana in Connecticut would raise between $784M and $952M in state taxes in first five years," 16 Sep. 2020 According to The Associated Press, the beer was selling for five times the price on the black market. Natasha Brenann, The Arizona Republic, "Brewer facing backlash over beer-can tribute to Navajo Code Talker," 2 Sep. 2020

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

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First Known Use of black-market


1727, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1931, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for black-market

Time Traveler

The first known use of black-market was in 1727

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Cite this Entry

“Black-market.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for black-market

black market


English Language Learners Definition of black market

: a system through which things are bought and sold illegally

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