Definition of cartel
1 : a written agreement between belligerent nations
2 : a combination of independent commercial or industrial enterprises designed to limit competition or fix prices illegal drug cartels
3 : a combination of political groups for common action
Examples of cartel in a sentence
a cartel of oil-producing nations that controls production and influences prices
Did You Know?
The literal meaning of Italian cartello, a derivative of carta, “leaf of paper,” is “placard.” The word is also used for a letter of defiance or a challenge. In this sense the Italian word was borrowed into Middle French as cartel, and the French word was borrowed into English. In English, a cartel was originally a letter of defiance. Later the word came to be used for a written agreement between warring nations to regulate such matters as the treatment and exchange of prisoners. Another type of agreement, a combination of commercial enterprises, is now called a cartel.
Did You Know?
A cartel is an organization of a few independent producers for the purpose of improving the profitability of the firms involved. This usually involves some restriction of output, control of price, and allocation of market shares. Members of a cartel generally maintain their separate identities and financial independence while engaging in cooperative policies. Cartels can either be domestic or international. Because cartels restrict competition and result in higher prices for consumers, they are outlawed in some countries. The only industry operating in the U.S. with a blanket exemption from the antitrust laws is major-league baseball.
Origin and Etymology of cartel
French, letter of defiance, from Old Italian cartello, literally, placard, from carta leaf of paper — more at card
First Known Use: 1692
CARTEL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cartel for English Language Learners
: a group of businesses that agree to fix prices so they all will make more money
Learn More about cartel
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up cartel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).