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 a supply management system, which limits the amount of product the dairy industry can produce and puts quotas on imports, which the US says hurts American dairy farmers. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The US and Canada haven’t budged on NAFTA," 7 Sep. 2018 The Italian minister for economic development told Bloomberg that quotas could be part of a deal that also covers cars, pharmaceuticals and textiles. The Economist, "Europe must agree a common position to avoid Donald Trump’s tariffs," 10 May 2018 The Korea Iron & Steel Association welcomed the deal while saying the quota was smaller than the industry wanted. Bloomberg News, BostonGlobe.com, "US settles South Korea trade dispute before summit with North," 26 Mar. 2018 The quota system in employment, admission, state legislatures and the parliament won the loyalty of lower-caste Hindus and of Muslims, too. WSJ, "To What Extent, if Any, Should Race Count?," 18 Dec. 2018 Heavily regulated traffic using permits issued under a quota system will begin flowing on Wednesday. Dake Kang, The Seattle Times, "China opens mega-bridge linking Hong Kong to mainland," 23 Oct. 2018 One is this month’s doubling of foreign-investment quotas under the 17-year-old Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor program, to $300 billion. Shen Hong, WSJ, "China Counters Selloff by Cutting Markets Some Slack," 24 Jan. 2019 Something like 40 percent of the countries in the world have introduced some kind of quota for women in terms of participation in national parliaments and local government. Sean Illing, Vox, "Want less poverty in the world? Empower women.," 5 Nov. 2018 The group has exposed the existence of minimum quotas for beds at detention centers - beds that ICE must pay for even when they’re not filled. Mark Collette, Joshua Fechter And Bill Lambrecht, San Antonio Express-News, "Companies earn billions to shelter immigrant children," 29 June 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

26 Feb 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

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