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

Beginning in 1924, the government set national immigration quotas. Anthony W. Fontes, The Conversation, "The long, bipartisan history of dealing with immigrants harshly," 9 July 2019 Lending quotas for favored minority groups and low-income applicants were increased by government bureaucrats, and mortgage companies came up with creative ways to meet them. Jason L. Riley, WSJ, "Democrats May Inflate Another Housing Bubble," 9 July 2019 As of a week ago — this past week’s results will be posted by Monday or Tuesday — all coho quotas remained well below 10 percent filled. oregonlive.com, "Monroe: Ocean fishing has vastly improved this summer," 6 July 2019 Their decisions, sometimes driven by quotas and politics, have the power to drive prison populations and harm the families left behind. Christie Marchese, refinery29.com, "When They See Us: What You Can Do About Mass Incarceration," 5 July 2019 Zenz went on to refer to two RFA reports that cited phone interviews the news organization had with Xinjiang government offices regarding quotas to meet—10% of the local Muslim population—within each district. Patrick Dehahn, Quartz, "More than 1 million Muslims are detained in China—but how did we get that number?," 4 July 2019 Liberman put a priority on passing the new draft law, which sets conscription quotas for the ultra-Orthodox and fines religious schools that do not meet them. Washington Post, "How the battle of bra-baring waitresses and ultra-religious protesters explains Israel’s political crisis," 10 June 2019 The Trump administration has been rolling back air quality regulations, but even in the United States, carmakers are under pressure because California and other states are requiring manufacturers to meet quotas for zero-emission car sales. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "The Car Industry Is Under Siege," 6 June 2019 South Africa sets an annual quota for the number of lion skeletons that can be exported legally. Rachel Fobar, National Geographic, "More than 100 neglected lions found in a South African breeding facility," 8 May 2019

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

16 Jul 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).


something desired as essential

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