\ ˈpakt How to pronounce pact (audio) \

Definition of pact

: compact entry 4 especially : an international treaty

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Pact has "peace" at its root because a pact often ends a period of unfriendly relations. The word is generally used in the field of international relations, where diplomats may speak of an "arms pact", a "trade pact", or a "fishing-rights pact". But it may also be used for any solemn agreement or promise between two people; after all, whenever two parties shake hands on a deal, they're not about to go to war with each other.

Examples of pact in a Sentence

We supported a peace pact between the two countries. They made a pact to go to the gym together three times a week.
Recent Examples on the Web Without a new pact that improves hours and working conditions, union members will stop working across the U.S. at 12:01 a.m. on October 18. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 14 Oct. 2021 In a single stroke, the new security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States offended France, disrespected the European Union, raised nonproliferation concerns, and painted a target on Australia’s back for China. Jonathan Stevenson, The New York Review of Books, 13 Oct. 2021 The two sides had been facing a Thursday night deadline to hammer out a new distribution pact, and earlier in the week, the two companies alerted consumers about a possible blackout. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 2 Oct. 2021 Taken together with the new Aukus military pact among the U.S., the U.K., and Australia and a thickening web of bilateral agreements across the region, these initiatives signal clear intent to combat Beijing. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2021 China’s navy recently surpassed the U.S. Navy in terms of battle force ships, and the new pact with Australia could serve as a counterweight to Beijing's military might. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, 24 Sep. 2021 As Biden celebrated the new AUKUS pact with Australia and Britain on Thursday, French officials expressed outrage over the deal, which brought that nation's 2016 agreement to build submarines for Australia to an abrupt end. NBC News, 17 Sep. 2021 The new pact requires the district to follow county health guidelines and encourages unvaccinated staff to maintain 6 feet of social distancing whenever possible. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Aug. 2021 His first music under the new pact is expected in the fall. Melinda Newman, Billboard, 4 Aug. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pact

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin pactum, from neuter of pactus, past participle of pacisci to agree, contract; akin to Old English fōn to seize, Latin pax peace, pangere to fix, fasten, Greek pēgnynai

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Time Traveler for pact

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The first known use of pact was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pact.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for pact



English Language Learners Definition of pact

: a formal agreement between two countries, people, or groups especially to help each other or to stop fighting


\ ˈpakt How to pronounce pact (audio) \

Kids Definition of pact

More from Merriam-Webster on pact

Nglish: Translation of pact for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pact for Arabic Speakers


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