mor·​a·​to·​ri·​um | \ˌmȯr-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əm, ˌmär-\
plural moratoriums or moratoria\-​ē-​ə \

Definition of moratorium 

1a : a legally authorized period of delay in the performance of a legal obligation or the payment of a debt

b : a waiting period set by an authority

2 : a suspension of activity

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Examples of moratorium in a Sentence

In 2000, Illinois declared a moratorium on executions after 13 death-row inmates were exonerated. — Evan Thomas et al., Newsweek, 19 Nov. 2007 But one country's moratorium is another country's protectionism, and the U.S. is suspicious of Europe's actions. — Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 13 Sept. 1999 The striped bass are recovering strongly after a moratorium on catching them. — John P. Wiley, Jr., Smithsonian, November 1993 Her office was crammed with ungraded school papers, some of them dating back five years. She was far behind in her work—so far behind that she had declared a moratorium on school work until she could catch up on her grading. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Sirens of Titan, 1959 The treaty calls for a nuclear testing moratorium. the director of the blood bank called for a moratorium in donations until the surplus could be used up
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Recent Examples on the Web

At the local level, would-be dispensary operators routinely encounter layers of regulations, if not moratoriums or outright bans, as well as wary landlords and angry neighbors. Lisa Prevost, New York Times, "Despite State Blessing, Marijuana Dispensaries Face Local Rancor," 3 July 2018 The murky status put a de facto moratorium on capital punishment while the case made its way through the courts. Gray Rohrer,, "Governor candidate Chris King opposes death penalty, supports legal pot," 15 May 2018 The initial version of the House Bill 819 would have barred using the most up-to-date climate science indefinitely, but the version that passed instituted a four-year moratorium on using the most dire forecast. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Governor races really matter for climate change. Here are the ones to watch.," 5 Nov. 2018 Late last week, a moratorium on demolition expired. Fox News, "Doomed Palestinian village turns to Europe as last hope," 16 Sep. 2018 The center, who has had his problems with technical fouls, will sign with the two-time defending champions after the moratorium period is lifted Friday, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday night. Janie Mccauley, The Seattle Times, "Warriors add a 5th All-Star in center DeMarcus Cousins," 3 July 2018 The person spoke under the condition of anonymity because the contract can’t officially be signed until the NBA’s moratorium period ends on July 6. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "Chris Paul, Houston Rockets agree on four-year, $160 million contract," 1 July 2018 The moratorium period ends at 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6. Jenna West,, "NBA Sets $101.9 Million Salary Cap for 2018-19 Season," 30 June 2018 The free agency moratorium period begins on Sunday at midnight. Ej Smith,, "NBA free agency, trade rumors and the latest on LeBron James, Paul George - live updates," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'moratorium.' 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 moratorium

1875, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for moratorium

New Latin, from Late Latin, neuter of moratorius dilatory, from Latin morari to delay, from mora delay

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Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for moratorium

The first known use of moratorium was in 1875

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English Language Learners Definition of moratorium

: a time when a particular activity is not allowed


mor·​a·​to·​ri·​um | \ˌmȯr-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əm \
plural moratoriums; plural moratoria

Legal Definition of moratorium 

1a : an authorized period of delay in the performance of an obligation (as the paying of a debt)

b : a waiting period set by an authority

2 : a suspension of activity

History and Etymology for moratorium

New Latin, from Late Latin, neuter of moratorius dilatory, from morari to delay, from mora delay

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a knickknack or trinket

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