black-mar·ket | \ˈblak-ˈmär-kət \
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 \ noun
black marketeering \ˈblak-ˌmär-kə-ˈtir-iŋ \ noun

Examples of black-market in a Sentence


The black market in prescription drugs is thriving. They unloaded the stolen goods on the black market.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The unusual structure has long made bitcoin a primary means of payment for drugs on online black markets, and more recently as a method for making ransom payments., "How Russian spies hid behind bitcoin in hacking campaign," 14 July 2018 The unusual structure has long made Bitcoin a primary means of payment for drugs on online black markets, and more recently as a method for making ransom payments. New York Times, "How Russian Spies Hid Behind Bitcoin in Hacking Campaign," 13 July 2018 Spooner’s story illustrates how, at alarming speed, guns can move into the black market, over state borders, into the hands of felons and be used to commit crimes. Will Campbell, idahostatesman, "Path of a gun: Weapon used in Chicago shooting traced back to Idaho pawn shop," 4 July 2018 Olivera estimates 20 to 25 metric tons of marijuana are consumed annually between the legal and black market, and academic studies say the figure could be as high as 30 metric tons. Leonardo Haberkorn, Fox News, "Uruguay struggling to meet demand for legal marijuana," 13 June 2018 They're highly sought after on the black market, worth more than gold, and people will kill—or be killed—to poach them. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "Meet the Black Mambas, South Africa's Fierce Female Anti-Poaching Unit," 3 May 2018 An unwanted and unloved child never officially recognized by her father, Violette had spent the war years living off the black market, trafficking and schlepping heavy loads of meat and butter from Normandy to Paris restaurants every week. Longreads, "When Sartre and Beauvoir Started a Magazine," 10 Apr. 2018 Most end up paying inflated prices on the black market, or depend on émigré relatives to send them supplies. Julia Jones And Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, "Venezuela health system in worse condition than expected, according to survey," 28 Mar. 2018 By legalizing and regulating some of the practices that currently occur in a black market, the NCAA would, to some extent, prevent agents from exploiting players. Alex Putterman, The Atlantic, "The NCAA Is Facing a Crossroads," 22 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for black-market

Last Updated

21 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for black-market

The first known use of black-market was in 1727

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More Definitions for black-market

black market


Financial Definition of black market

What It Is

A black market is the illegal purchase and sale of goods and services.

How It Works

Drug dealing is one of the most prominent black markets in the United States. In this black market, people buy and sell drugs knowing that such activity is usually illegal and that possessing the products themselves is usually illegal. Regardless, the demand for drugs is high enough to trump the law, though people usually attempt to conceal their participation.

Many black markets exist beyond drugs, however, and though the products or services may be legal, the manner in which they are bought and sold may be illegal. For example, it is legal to have a cleaning lady, but it is illegal to hire a cleaning lady who is not in the United States legally.

Because regulatory constraints may increase the price of some goods and services, in some cases regulation can actually prompt the development of black markets. This was particularly the case in the early 1900s, when the United States outlawed alcohol, which created a massive black market for the production, transportation and sale of liquor.

Why It Matters

The presence of black markets all over the world is evidence that the laws of supply and demand are virtually impossible to defy. When regulation or taxation becomes too high, when supply and demand are way out of balance, or when competition has been too restricted, people will always look for a way to get goods or services cheaper, faster or more easily.

Source: Investing Answers

black market


English Language Learners Definition of black market

: a system through which things are bought and sold illegally

Comments on black-market

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