\ ˈpakt How to pronounce pact (audio) \

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 Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Schumer are using that pact as a framework for their own plan, but the matter is still unresolved, said a person familiar with their deliberations. Laura Litvan,, "Biden Cabinet Risks Slow Start With Lag in Senate Confirmations," 13 Jan. 2021 In line, Redman slept in a chair, did crossword puzzles, and made a pact with the young man ahead of her to save each other’s place when one of them went to the bathroom. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, "D.C.’s Vaccine Jackpots Are Getting Out of Control," 13 Jan. 2021 Initially, the Serum Institute signed a pact with AstraZeneca to make one billion doses of the vaccine for low-and-middle-income countries. New York Times, "India Approves Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine and 1 Other," 3 Jan. 2021 Half-measures have left us oscillating between frustration and desperation for decades now, facing down mounting interest and a pay-until-you-die pact with extortive industries. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Cancel Our Debts, Then Cancel Debt," 31 Dec. 2020 The Nagorno-Karabakh fighting has raised fears of a wider regional war, with Turkey supporting its ally Azerbaijan, while Russia has a defense pact with Armenia and a military base there. NBC News, "Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia sign deal to end Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," 10 Nov. 2020 Third, the Arabs had been promised independence in return for their cooperation during the war and this pact broke that promise. Longreads, "The Powerful Decide," 26 Sep. 2020 But Trump and other critics blamed that pact for encouraging U.S. companies to move their manufacturing plants south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican laborers. Kevin Freking, The Denver Post, "Senate passes U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade deal, a Trump priority," 16 Jan. 2020 The coalition pact called for a two-year budget for 2020 and 2021 to be passed this year. Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, "Israel Faces Fourth Election in Two Years After Parliament Is Dissolved," 22 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for pact

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pact

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pact.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for pact


How to pronounce pact (audio)

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 How to pronounce pact (audio) \

Kids Definition of pact

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