[ahr-bi-trey-shuh n]


the hearing and determining of a dispute or the settling of differences between parties by a person or persons chosen or agreed to by them: Rather than risk a long strike, the union and management agreed to arbitration.
International Law. the application of judicial methods to the settlement of international disputes.

Origin of arbitration

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin arbitrātiōn- (stem of arbitrātiō), equivalent to arbitrāt(us) (see arbitrate) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsar·bi·tra·tion·al, adjectivear·bi·tra·tion·ist, nounpro·ar·bi·tra·tion, adjectivepro·ar·bi·tra·tion·ist, noun, adjectivere·ar·bi·tra·tion, noun
Can be confusedarbitration mediation (see synonym study at mediation)

Synonyms for arbitration

1. See mediation.

Arbitration, The


a comedy (c300 b.c.) by Menander, extant only as a fragment. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for arbitration

Contemporary Examples of arbitration

Historical Examples of arbitration

  • The Greek Government had put no impediment in the way of arbitration.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • With such men there could be no arbitration, and in fact there was no need.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • These decisions are given by, what may be called, a court of arbitration and a court of appeal.

    Bremen Cotton Exchange

    Andreas Wilhelm Cramer

  • It is therefore basically not a plan of arbitration, nor is it an industrial court.

    Herbert Hoover

    Vernon Kellogg

  • It is not founded on the principle of arbitration or compulsion.

    Herbert Hoover

    Vernon Kellogg

British Dictionary definitions for arbitration



law the hearing and determination of a dispute, esp an industrial dispute, by an impartial referee selected or agreed upon by the parties concerned
international law the procedure laid down for the settlement of international disputes
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

Word Origin and History for arbitration

late 14c., "absolute decision," from Old French arbitracion, from Latin arbitrationem (nominative arbitratio) "judgment, will," noun of action from past participle stem of arbitrari "to be of an opinion, give a decision," from arbiter (see arbiter). Meaning "settlement of a dispute by a third party" is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

arbitration in Culture


The settling of disputes (especially labor disputes) between two parties by an impartial third party, whose decision the contending parties agree to accept. Arbitration is often used to resolve conflict diplomatically to prevent a more serious confrontation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.