pet·​ro·​dol·​lar | \ ˈpe-trō-ˌdä-lər How to pronounce petrodollar (audio) \

Definition of petrodollar

: a dollar's worth of foreign exchange obtained by a petroleum-exporting country through sales abroad usually used in plural

Examples of petrodollar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The loss of petrodollars and the blow to sentiment have also hit non-oil GDP, where an expansion of almost 5% in 2017 turned into a contraction of more than 4% in each of the last two years. Ziad Daoud,, "Iran’s Economy Can’t Afford Further Military Escalation," 10 May 2020 In the belief that democracy in one Arab state is a threat to all, regimes flush with petrodollars have cracked down mercilessly on political activity and media. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Facing down jail and wealthy foes, Arab rights defenders soldier on," 12 May 2020 Propped up by a windfall of petrodollars, the Kremlin has little incentive to rescue small companies. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "As Putin Dallies, Russia’s Small Businesses Are Withering Away," 11 Apr. 2020 That threatened the future of the U.S. shale industry, the stability of oil-dependent states and squeezed the flow of petrodollars through an ailing global economy. Fortune, "Saudi-Russia oil price war ends with OPEC+ deal to slash output, but prices stay near lows," 13 Apr. 2020 That threatened the future of the US shale industry and the stability of oil-dependent states and squeezed the flow of petrodollars through an ailing global economy. Grant Smith,, "Oil producers agree to cut production, end price war," 12 Apr. 2020 Almost all international trades in oil are priced in dollars, hence the term petrodollars. Washington Post, "Why It’s So Hard to Overthrow the Mighty U.S. Dollar," 2 Nov. 2019 Firstly, at the time of its conception, the Nigerian government had a large amount of petrodollars. Astrid R.n. Haas, Quartz Africa, "African countries keep building new cities to meet rapid urbanization even if people won’t live in them," 1 Nov. 2019 But to imagine such consistency from our new green magnates would mean that Al Gore would never have sold his failed cable network to the anti-Semitic Al-Jazeera, funded by polluting petrodollars. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Democrats’ Debate Cowardice, Hypocrisy, and Nuttiness," 6 Aug. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of petrodollar

1973, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for petrodollar

petro- + dollar

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about petrodollar

Time Traveler for petrodollar

Time Traveler

The first known use of petrodollar was in 1973

See more words from the same year

Statistics for petrodollar

Cite this Entry

“Petrodollar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

Comments on petrodollar

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!