adjective ne·go·tia·ble \ ni-ˈgō-sh(ē-)ə-bəl \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of negotiable

: capable of being negotiated: such as
a : transferable from one person to another by being delivered with or without endorsement (see endorse 1d) so that the title passes to the transferee (see transferee 1)
  • negotiable securities
b : capable of being traversed, dealt with, or accomplished
  • a difficult but negotiable road
  • some kind of agreement was negotiable
c : open to discussion or dispute
  • The terms of the contract are negotiable.
  • The price was not negotiable.


play \ni-ˌgō-sh(ē-)ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

Examples of negotiable in a Sentence

  1. The terms of the contract are negotiable.

  2. The price was not negotiable.

  3. a rough but negotiable road

Recent Examples of negotiable from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of negotiable

negoti(ate) + -able, perhaps after French négociable

Financial Definition of NEGOTIABLE


What It Is

Negotiable refers to an item that can be sold or transferred to another party as a form of unconditional payment. Negotiable also means that the terms of an agreement can be adjusted.

How It Works

A negotiable check given to one person can then be endorsed and may be used as a payment to a third party. Also, certain types of commercial paper securities or bonds may be negotiable (they may be signed by the bearer of the bonds and redeemed).  The right to payment through a negotiable instrument, such as a currency or endorsed checks is determined based on possession.

According to the United States Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), an item is negotiable if it meets the following criteria:  the promise to pay must be unconditional; the payment must be for a specific sum; payment must be made on demand; no further performance by any party is needed; and payment must be to the bearer of the negotiable instrument.
In terms of an agreement, the parties may be negotiating the terms of a contract or the scope of a project.   For example, a proposal for work by a contractor at a certain fee may be negotiable.  That is, the contractor may be willing to do more work or lower the price.  A contract is usually negotiable until it is executed.

Why It Matters

Once a negotiable instrument is given to another party, it is payable unconditionally. Possession governs in almost every way; it is the functional equivalent to cash. On a balance sheet, negotiable instruments are classified as "cash or its equivalents."  Under the US UCC regulations, letters of credit, bills of lading, most securities, deeds, and IOUs are not negotiable.

NEGOTIABLE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of negotiable for English Language Learners

  • : able to be discussed and changed before an agreement or decision is made

  • : able to be successfully traveled over

  • finance : able to be passed from one person to another in return for something of equal value

NEGOTIABLE Defined for Kids


adjective ne·go·tia·ble \ ni-ˈgō-shə-bəl \

Definition of negotiable for Students

1 : able to be discussed in order to reach an agreement
  • a negotiable price
2 : able to be successfully dealt with or traveled over
  • negotiable roads

Law Dictionary


adjective ne·go·tia·ble \ ni-ˈgō-shə-bəl \

legal Definition of negotiable

: capable of being negotiated; especially : transferable from one party to another by delivery with or without endorsement so that title passes to the transferee
  • negotiable securities
  • a negotiable certificate of deposit
— see also negotiable instrument


play \ni-ˌgō-shə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up negotiable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


excessive admiration or flattery

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!