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

Russia is now pushing for an extradition treaty with Guatemala. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Russia’s Latin American Offensive," 2 Dec. 2018 Signing a treaty with us or being accepted as a legal permanent resident of our country ought to count for something in the world. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "There’s nothing “America First” about Trump’s Saudi policy," 21 Nov. 2018 None of the eight defendants named in the indictment unsealed Tuesday in San Diego federal court were in custody and the U.S. doesn’t have an extradition treaty with China. Brian Melley, The Seattle Times, "Chinese intelligence officers charged in US aviation hacking," 30 Oct. 2018 The decision also brought sharp criticism Sunday from Russian officials and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the treaty in 1987 with President Ronald Reagan. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "US decision to withdraw from Cold War-era nuke treaty draws rebuke from Russia," 23 Oct. 2018 Countries that do have an extradition treaty with the United States will now be on notice in case any of these guys show up. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "After indictment, Russian hackers’ lives “changed forever,” ex-ambassador says," 15 July 2018 The United States has migratory bird treaties with Canada, Mexico, Russia and Japan. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 After all fighting ended, Britain negotiated separate peace treaties with the United States, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic in 1783. Alice George, Smithsonian, "The American Revolution Was Just One Battlefront in a Huge World War," 28 June 2018 The government terminated treaties with those tribes about a century later and restored them in 1983, marking an end to a turbulent period that remains a fresh wound for many here. Gillian Flaccus, The Christian Science Monitor, "British Museum to return Native American artifacts to Oregon tribe," 5 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

10 Dec 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

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 enclose within walls

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