\ˈpakt \

Definition of pact 

: compact entry 4 especially : an international treaty

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Did You Know?

Pact has "peace" at its root because a pact often ends a period of unfriendly relations. The word is generally used in the field of international relations, where diplomats may speak of an "arms pact", a "trade pact", or a "fishing-rights pact". But it may also be used for any solemn agreement or promise between two people; after all, whenever two parties shake hands on a deal, they're not about to go to war with each other.

Examples of pact in a Sentence

We supported a peace pact between the two countries. They made a pact to go to the gym together three times a week.

Recent Examples on the Web

Mila’s loneliness grows substantially worse when her BFF is found dead the same week as two mean girls from their school, June and Dayton, off themselves in a suicide pact. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Four hot novels for teens to dive into this summer vacation," 3 July 2018 Russia, meanwhile, a key partner in OPEC’s pact, has pushed to raise production. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "Oil Prices Jump After OPEC Deal to Lift Output," 22 June 2018 Congressional Democrats, including several who initially opposed the Iran nuclear deal, lashed out Tuesday at President Trump's controversial decision to end U.S. participation in the pact, while praise came from many — but not all — in the GOP. Cathleen Decker,, "Many Republicans praise Trump's Iran decision, but some join Democrats to lament it as a mistake," 8 May 2018 The moves are seen by foreign policy specialists as isolating the United States from its allies who remain in the nuclear pact, and stoking fears that the pullout could put Iran back on course to pursue a nuclear weapon. Matt Viser,, "US exit from Iran deal draws criticism from Europe, praise from Israel," 8 May 2018 Also included in the pact are Night Train With Wyatt Cenac, Skylar Brothers: Hipster Ghosts, The UCB Show and more. Ray Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter, "What Matters in Hollywood Today," 17 Apr. 2018 Barring a last-minute pact between the two parties on spending and immigration disputes that have raged for months, lawmakers said a measure financing agencies for just several days was possible to build pressure on negotiators to craft a deal. Alan Fram, Time, "House Votes to Avert Government Shutdown," 18 Jan. 2018 Australia and New Zealand are negotiating a security pact with small South Pacific island nations as a counter to the growing influence of China and Russia over regional economies including Fiji and resource-rich Papua New Guinea. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "New Zealand Buys Boeing Surveillance Jets to Counter Chinese Buildup," 9 July 2018 Trump, who once declared that he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris, has also pulled the U.S. out of pacts with allies on climate change and Iran’s nuclear program. Jonathan Tamari,, "Defense Secretary Jim Mattis strives to be a reassuring voice to allies in a chaotic time," 10 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pact

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin pactum, from neuter of pactus, past participle of pacisci to agree, contract; akin to Old English fōn to seize, Latin pax peace, pangere to fix, fasten, Greek pēgnynai

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Dictionary Entries near pact






pactional rent


Statistics for pact

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pact

The first known use of pact was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of pact

: a formal agreement between two countries, people, or groups especially to help each other or to stop fighting


\ˈpakt \

Kids Definition of pact

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Comments on pact

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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