trea·​ty | \ ˈtrē-tē \
plural treaties

Definition of treaty

1a : an agreement or arrangement made by negotiation:
(1) : a contract in writing between two or more political authorities (such as states or sovereigns) formally signed by representatives duly authorized and usually ratified by the lawmaking authority of the state
b : a document in which such a contract is set down
2 : the action of treating and especially of negotiating

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Examples of treaty in a Sentence

a nuclear test ban treaty in accordance with a treaty between the United States and the tribes of the Pacific Northwest, commercial fishing of certain kinds of salmon is limited to Native Americans

Recent Examples on the Web

To that end, governments and tech companies should begin by adhering to existing privacy protections, which are already established in international human-rights treaties. Maya Wang, WSJ, "China’s Bumbling Police State," 26 Dec. 2018 Unlike the withdrawal ordered in Syria, the Afghanistan drawdown is expected to be more deliberative because of the presence of treaty allies. Jessica Donati, WSJ, "Trump Orders Big Troop Reduction in Afghanistan," 20 Dec. 2018 Canada is paying a significant price for doing the right thing by upholding the rule of law and discharging its treaty obligations. Rob Gillies, The Seattle Times, "Trump comments upend US approach to Huawei, trade talks," 12 Dec. 2018 But the resources remain minuscule, especially compared to other international treaties. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 It was initially used in WWII and now international treaties forbid its use in war. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "If You're Defending Tear Gassing Children, You're a Horrible Person," 28 Nov. 2018 But legally serving entities in Russia is nearly always a futile effort, as for 15 years, Russia has refused to comply with the international treaty known as the Hague Convention that describes rules for serving defendants in foreign countries. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Why is a Lisbon soccer team trying to unmask Portuguese bloggers in US court?," 12 Oct. 2018 The standards are specified by the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thailand takes first step toward total ban of e-waste," 21 June 2018 Also, there are concerns about how to protect satellites without breaking international treaties and, more pressingly, generating more space debris by firing offensive weapons at satellites. Elizabeth Howell,, "Trump's Space Force Push Reopens Arguments About Military in Space," 20 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for treaty

Middle English trete, from Anglo-French treté, from past participle of treter to discuss, treat

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Statistics for treaty

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for treaty

The first known use of treaty was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for treaty



English Language Learners Definition of treaty

: an official agreement that is made between two or more countries or groups


trea·​ty | \ ˈtrē-tē \
plural treaties

Kids Definition of treaty

: an agreement between two or more states or sovereigns a peace treaty


plural treaties

Legal Definition of treaty

1 : the action of treating and especially of negotiating
2 : an agreement or arrangement made by negotiation: as
b : a contract in writing between two or more political authorities (as states or sovereigns) formally signed by representatives duly authorized and usually ratified by the lawmaking authority of the state the President…shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treatiesU.S. Constitution art. II — compare executive agreement
3 : a document embodying a negotiated agreement or contract
4 : an agreement or contract (as between companies) providing for treaty reinsurance

History and Etymology for treaty

Anglo-French treté, from Middle French traité, from Medieval Latin tractatus, from Latin, handling, treatment, from tractare to treat, handle

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More from Merriam-Webster on treaty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with treaty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for treaty

Spanish Central: Translation of treaty

Nglish: Translation of treaty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of treaty for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about treaty

Comments on treaty

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


to gather or build up little by little

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