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

(2) : private treaty

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

Without a deal on the backstop there can be no withdrawal treaty, and Britain will tumble off the Brexit cliff edge on March 29th 2019. The Economist, "The EU digests Britain’s new Brexit plan," 11 July 2018 New Jersey outlawed collecting and possessing diamondback terrapins in 2016, and their sale is also banned by an international treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. CBS News, "Feds indict man for allegedly trafficking thousands of turtles," 10 July 2018 Her arrival coincides with that of a powerful general (a scarily inscrutable Bill Camp) and the discussion of a new allotment treaty, one that will severely limit the Sioux’s land and food rations if passed. Justin Chang, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘Woman Walks Ahead’ paints a timid picture," 4 July 2018 That decision, however, has had limited effect: Few legal trades have been completed, and international trading is still banned by treaty. Jason Florio, Smithsonian, "The Dangerous Work of Relocating 5,000-Pound Rhinos," 22 May 2018 For chinook salmon, a catch of 99,000 is projected in areas outside of Southeast Alaska, where the numbers are determined by treaty with Canada. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s how Alaska fishery managers expect this salmon season to play out," 15 May 2018 Established by a 22-year-old treaty banning nuclear explosions, the CTBTO doesn’t make policy decisions or give advice. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Meet the scientists keeping a global watch for nuclear explosions," 9 May 2018 The world is safer today from nuclear weapons because most nations have abided by a nonproliferation treaty negotiated a half-century ago in a spirit of civility and mutual disarmament. The Christian Science Monitor, "A first step in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula," 1 May 2018 The Saudi government approved a national policy for its atomic energy program on Tuesday, including limiting all nuclear activities to peaceful purposes, within the limits defined by international treaties. NBC News, "Saudi crown prince vows to develop nuclear bomb if Iran does," 15 Mar. 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

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

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Phrases Related to treaty

nonaggression treaty/pact

peace treaty

Statistics for treaty

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

a : private treaty

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

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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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