1

embargo

noun em·bar·go \ im-ˈbär-(ˌ)gō \
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of embargo

plural embargoes
1 :an order of a government prohibiting the departure of commercial ships from its ports
2 :a legal prohibition on commerce
  • a trade embargo
3 :stoppage, impediment; especially :prohibition
  • I lay no embargo on anybody's words
  • —Jane Austen
4 :an order by a common carrier or public regulatory agency prohibiting or restricting freight transportation

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Examples of embargo in a Sentence

  1. there's a standing embargo against the use of foul language in this house

Recent Examples of embargo from the Web

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

When Should You Use embargo?

Embargoes may be put in place for any number of reasons. For instance, a government may place a trade embargo against another country to express its disapproval with that country’s policies. But governments are not the only bodies that can place embargoes. A publisher, for example, could place an embargo on a highly anticipated book to prevent stores from selling it before its official release date. The word embargo, dating from the late 16th century, derives via Spanish embargar from Vulgar Latin imbarricare, formed from the prefix in- and the noun "barra" ("bar").

Origin and Etymology of embargo

Spanish, from embargar to bar, from Vulgar Latin *imbarricare, from Latin in- + Vulgar Latin *barra bar


2

embargo

verb

Definition of embargo

embargoed; embargoing
transitive verb
:to place an embargo on

Recent Examples of embargo from the Web

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

First Known Use of embargo

1755


Financial Definition of EMBARGO

embargo

What It Is

An embargo is a government-instituted prevention of exports to a certain country.

In the media world, an embargo is the release of information with the condition that it cannot be published or disseminated before a certain date. Companies often embargo press releases, meaning that they disseminate them to the media with the condition that the media not report the story until after a certain date.

How It Works

Let's say Country A dislikes Country B's human rights policies. In order to coerce Country B to change its ways, Country A forbids its companies from selling widgets to Country B. Country B has a huge demand for widgets, and being "cut off" from Country A's widgets could encourage Country B's citizens to demand that Country B's government change its ways.

In many cases, a group of countries will join an embargo so that a country like Country B can't just start buying widgets elsewhere. Sometimes countries will embargo all products with other countries.

The Magna Carta is one of the world's first and most famous embargoes. Another famous embargo is the one between the U.S. and Cuba, which has not received most American goods for 50 years.

Why It Matters

Embargoes are political strategies. Economies are increasingly global, which makes them even more powerful when they involve countries that rely on imports for day-to-day needs.

Critics point out that a country's choice not to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) may effectively place an embargo on the goods and services of that country, because WTO members often trade only with each other or give preferential treatment to other WTO members.


EMBARGO Defined for English Language Learners

embargo

noun

Definition of embargo for English Language Learners

  • : a government order that limits trade in some way


EMBARGO Defined for Kids

embargo

noun em·bar·go \ im-ˈbär-gō \

Definition of embargo for Students

plural embargoes
:an order of a government forbidding ships engaged in trade from leaving its ports
  • an oil embargo

Law Dictionary

1

embargo

noun em·bar·go \ im-ˈbär-gō, em- \

legal Definition of embargo

plural embargoes
1 :an order of a government prohibiting the departure of commercial ships from its ports
2 :a legal prohibition on commerce
  • an embargo on arms shipments
3 :an order by a common carrier or public regulatory agency prohibiting or restricting freight transportation

Origin and Etymology of embargo

Spanish, from embargar to bar


2

embargo

transitive verb

legal Definition of embargo

embargoed; embargoing
:to place an embargo on


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