quo·​ta | \ ˈkwō-tə How to pronounce quota (audio) \

Definition of quota

1 : a proportional part or share especially : the share or proportion assigned to each in a division or to each member of a body
2 : the number or amount constituting a proportional share
3 : a fixed number or percentage of minority group members or women needed to meet the requirements of affirmative action

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Examples of quota in a Sentence

The agency imposes strict fishing quotas. The company has imposed quotas on hiring. He lost his driver's license because he exceeded the quota of traffic violations. The department set new sales quotas in January.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Canada uses what’s called a supply management system for dairy (and eggs and poultry), which closely regulates how much of each product can be produced and places strict tariffs and quotas on those items when they’re shipped into the country. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The three countries signed the deal at the G20 on Friday.," 30 Nov. 2018 The Institute found a surge in steel imports earlier this year, as companies tried to bring goods into the country before tariffs and quotas went into effect, and expects to see the real impact of tariffs in the future. Andrea Rumbaugh, Houston Chronicle, "So ... did the U.S. impose steel tariffs? Sorting through the rhetoric," 15 June 2018 According to the Brazilian authorities, the United States said the country’s steel and aluminum industries could opt for tariffs or quotas. Shasta Darlington, New York Times, "The U.S. Says It Has a Tariff Deal With Brazil. Brazil Disagrees.," 2 May 2018 One hitch is that China’s foreign-exchange regulator has yet to release rules on cross-border investment quotas, said one of the people. Margot Patrick, WSJ, "Herbal Meds, but No Manchester United: Britain’s Stock Link to China Falls Flat," 5 Dec. 2018 In 2006, for example, Norway established a quota for women on boards. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "How Many Women Does It Take to Change a Congress?," 10 Oct. 2018 The practice of policing based on quotas — requiring officers to arrest a minimum number of people within a particular time frame — was outlawed in New York City in 2010. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "5 great social issues documentaries that help explain America in 2018," 24 Aug. 2018 Brazil, which primarily exports slab steel to US manufacturers, is hoping to escape by agreeing on limited quotas for more sophisticated products. Jack Ewing And Ana Swanson, BostonGlobe.com, "US allies brace for trade war as tariff negotiations stall," 29 Apr. 2018 Yet in the past such pacts have always unravelled because of cheating on quotas. The Economist, "When the sun sets on oilThe Middle East and Russia are ill-prepared for a low-carbon future," 15 Mar. 2018

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

1618, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quota

Medieval Latin, from Latin quota pars how great a part

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Statistics for quota

Last Updated

7 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quota

The first known use of quota was in 1618

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More Definitions for quota



Financial Definition of quota

What It Is

Quota can refer to a measure that sets the limits, either minimum or maximum, on a particular activity.

How It Works

Quotas are usually set by government or by an organization of producers of a particular product.

For trade quotas, governments set the quota limiting the import of a particular product, restricting the access to the domestic market by an offshore producer, and giving the domestic producers the opportunity to improve their position in the market.  Such protectionist policies in industries including steel, autos, and many consumer electronics products, have protected domestic industry from international competition.

In production quotas, a government or a group of producers, limit the supply of a particular product in order to maintain a certain price level.  For example, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sets a production quota for crude oil in order to "maintain" the price of crude oil in world markets.

Why It Matters

Quotas counteract natural market forces and trends and usually upset normal business cycles. For example, protecting domestic industry from international competition has kept it alive, but has not increased its competitiveness. In an increasingly global economic marketplace, quotas tend to weaken domestic industry. As for production quotas, while maintaining prices in the world markets may sound like a good idea for producers, it can have the effect of forcing consumers to find alternative products (e.g., the search for alternative energy in the case of oil) or worse (e.g., take up arms to fight for rights to natural resources).

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of quota

: an official limit on the number or amount of people or things that are allowed
: a specific amount or number that is expected to be achieved


quo·​ta | \ ˈkwō-tə How to pronounce quota (audio) \

Kids Definition of quota

1 : a limit on the number or amount of people or things that are allowed a quota on imported goods
2 : a share assigned to each member of a group Each colony received its quota of troops.
3 : a specific amount or number of things that is expected to be achieved She sold her quota of candy bars.

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quo·​ta | \ ˈkwō-tə How to pronounce quota (audio) \

Legal Definition of quota

1 : a proportional part or share assigned to each in a body
2 : a specific amount that serves as a minimum or maximum a law against traffic ticket quotas

History and Etymology for quota

Medieval Latin, from Latin quota pars how great a part

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More from Merriam-Webster on quota

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quota

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quota

Spanish Central: Translation of quota

Nglish: Translation of quota for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quota for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about quota

Comments on quota

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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