con·​ces·​sion kən-ˈse-shən How to pronounce concession (audio)
plural concessions
: the act or an instance of conceding (as by granting something as a right, accepting something as true, or acknowledging defeat)
The union will seek further concessions before accepting the contract.
: the admitting of a point claimed in argument
: something conceded or granted:
: something done or agreed to usually grudgingly in order to reach an agreement or improve a situation
The ending of the movie was changed as a concession to the American audience's sensibilities.
: a grant of land or property especially by a government in return for services or for a particular use
: a right to undertake and profit by a specified activity
a concession to drill for oil
: a lease of a portion of premises for a particular purpose
also : the portion leased or the activities carried on
: a small business or shop where things are sold in a public place (such as a sports stadium or theater)
The theater had real Raisinets at the concession, so I got some of those, too.Neal Fandek
… Billie's visiting with her father, and I'm standing alone at the concession stand, buying my butterless corn.Carrie Fisher
concessions plural : things sold at such a business
Spectators spend an average of $5 per game on concessions.Jack Gallagher
kən-ˈsesh-nəl How to pronounce concession (audio)
concessionary adjective

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Meanings of Concession

Concession carries two very distinct meanings in English. It is commonly used to indicate something that has been conceded (as when the politician who loses a race gives a concession speech, or when someone makes a concession in an argument). In a completely different context, the word maybe be found in the phrase concession stand. Where does this last use come from? Were concession stands originally set up to settle arguments or elections? Hardly. The concession in concession stand denotes “a usually exclusive right to undertake and profit by a specified activity.” The phrase is first recorded in a classified ad seeking someone to work at a booth at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Examples of concession in a Sentence

In the big pristine forests of the Congo Basin, governments are selling logging and mining concessions to get money … Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2007
With him he carried a secret mandate from Prince Gauda, promising all sorts of concessions in Numidia once he was its king. Colleen McCullough, The First Man in Rome, (1990) 1991
We sang exactly in the same range. There was never a concession that had to be made musically because our ranges were so totally compatible. Rosemary Clooney, quoted by Joe Smith in Off the Record, 1988
As a concession to her debility she lay on an aluminum chaise longue … John Updike, New Yorker, 23 May 1988
We are waiting for his concession of the election. The candidate made an emotional concession speech when it was clear that he had lost. The strikers have won some important concessions from the company. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Some far-right Republicans are holding up funding bills to extract more concessions from McCarthy. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 19 Sep. 2023 The deal also includes provisions on the border that will be added to the Homeland Security appropriations bill in an effort to extract concessions from the Senate on the issue when both chambers eventually negotiate on funding the government for a full fiscal year. Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2023 The prisoner deal is, however, an example of a new method of unwritten arrangements between Washington and Tehran, analysts say, where smaller mutual concessions are exchanged in the absence of a wider, formal agreement like the one reached in 2015 and abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 18 Sep. 2023 One of the new concessions items is a simple turkey sandwich ($18) with a glow-up of bacon, avocado and bacon jam aioli. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 14 Sep. 2023 After union truck drivers and longshoremen won massive concessions from U.S. corporations this summer, the UAW called for a 40% pay raise and a 32-hour work week. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Sep. 2023 With the union’s contract with the Big Three automakers set to expire on September 14, the UAW is demanding enormous concessions that are only possible with a mid-20th-century economic boom. Steve Delie, National Review, 14 Sep. 2023 The automakers haven’t agreed to those demands but have made other concessions. Jeanne Whalen, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 A number of observers have sort of pointed out that by making a deal early, the Directors Guild of America doesn’t necessarily stand to get the same concessions from the studios that the writers and the actors might by holding out. Matt Brennan, Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English concessyon, from Anglo-French concessioun, from Latin concession-, concessio, from concedere to concede

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of concession was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near concession

Cite this Entry

“Concession.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​ces·​sion kən-ˈsesh-ən How to pronounce concession (audio)
: the act or an instance of conceding
: something conceded or granted
: a special right or privilege given by an authority
a concession to sell souvenirs
a mining concession

Legal Definition


: an act or instance of conceding or yielding
: something conceded: as
: something granted especially as an inducement (as to enter into an agreement)
: a grant of real property especially by a government in return for services or for a particular use (as settlement)
: a right to undertake a specified activity for profit on another's real property
a logging concession
: a lease that grants a right to engage in a profitable activity on another's real property
also : the property or portion of the property subject to such a lease

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