trade-off

noun \ ˈtrād-ˌȯf \

Definition of trade-off

1 :a balancing of factors all of which are not attainable at the same time
  • the education versus experience trade-off which governs personnel practices
  • —H. S. White
2 :a giving up of one thing in return for another :exchange

trade off

transitive verb

First Known Use of trade-off

1909


TRADE-OFF Defined for English Language Learners

trade-off

noun

Definition of trade-off for English Language Learners

  • : a situation in which you must choose between or balance two things that are opposite or cannot be had at the same time

  • : something that you do not want but must accept in order to have something that you want



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

serious difficulty or misfortune

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!