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[bahr-guh n] /ˈbɑr gən/
an advantageous purchase, especially one acquired at less than the usual cost:
The sale offered bargains galore.
an agreement between parties settling what each shall give and take or perform and receive in a transaction.
such an agreement as affecting one of the parties:
a losing bargain.
something acquired by bargaining.
Informal. an agreeable person, especially one who causes no trouble or difficulty (usually used in negative constructions):
His boss is no bargain.
verb (used without object)
to discuss the terms of a bargain; haggle; negotiate.
to come to an agreement; make a bargain:
We bargained on a three-year term.
verb (used with object)
to arrange by bargain; negotiate:
to bargain a new wage increase.
to anticipate as likely to occur; expect (usually followed by a clause):
I'll bargain that he's going to give those company directors plenty of trouble.
Verb phrases
bargain for, to anticipate or take into account:
The job turned out to be more than he had bargained for.
bargain on, to expect or anticipate; count or rely on:
You can't bargain on what she'll do in this situation.
in / into the bargain, over and above what has been stipulated; moreover; besides:
The new housekeeper proved to be a fine cook in the bargain.
strike a bargain, to make a bargain; agree to terms:
They were unable to strike a bargain because the owner's asking price was more than the prospective buyer could afford.
Origin of bargain
1300-50; (v.) Middle English bargaynen < Anglo-French, Old French bargai(g)ner, probably < Frankish *borganjan, extended form of Germanic *borgan (compare Old High German bor(a)gēn to look after, Middle High German, German borgen to lend, borrow); (noun) Middle English bargayn < Anglo-French, Old French bargai(g)ne, bargain, noun derivative of the v.; o > a in 1st syllable is unexplained
Related forms
bargainable, adjective
bargainer, noun
outbargain, verb (used with object)
prebargain, verb (used with object)
probargaining, adjective
unbargained, adjective
2. stipulation, arrangement, transaction. 7. contract, covenant.
Synonym Study
2. See agreement. 6. See trade. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bargain
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And do women who sell themselves ever find any real pleasure in the bargain?

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • "I think you'd better call this bargain off, Mr. Porter," remonstrated Crane.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • At any rate, Lauzanne belonged to Allis, and Crane would have to bargain with her.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • "That's a bargain; and I'll teach Bill too," she added with native tact.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • I was not long in making a bargain with a fisherman to aid in catching shad.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for bargain


an agreement or contract establishing what each party will give, receive, or perform in a transaction between them
something acquired or received in such an agreement
  1. something bought or offered at a low price: a bargain at an auction
  2. (as modifier): a bargain price
into the bargain, (US) in the bargain, in excess of what has been stipulated; besides
make a bargain, strike a bargain, to agree on terms
(intransitive) to negotiate the terms of an agreement, transaction, etc
(transitive) to exchange, as in a bargain
to arrive at (an agreement or settlement)
Derived Forms
bargainer, noun
bargaining, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French bargaigne, from bargaignier to trade, of Germanic origin; compare Medieval Latin barcāniāre to trade, Old English borgian to borrow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bargain

late 14c., from Old French bargaignier (12c., Modern French barguigner) "to haggle over the price," perhaps from Frankish *borganjan "to lend" or some other Germanic source, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *borgan (cf. Old High German borgen; Old English borgian, source of borrow). Another suggestion is that the French word comes from Late Latin barca "a barge," because it "carries goods to and fro." There are difficulties with both suggestions. Related: Bargained; bargaining.


mid-14c., "business transaction or agreement," also "that which is acquired by bargaining," from Old French bargaine, from bargaignier (see bargain (v.)). Meaning "article priced for special sale" is from 1899. A bargain basement (1899) originally was a basement floor in a store where bargains were displayed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bargain


Related Terms

no bargain

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bargain
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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