[ bar-uh-tree ]
/ ˈbær ə tri /
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noun Law.

fraud by a master or crew at the expense of the owners of the ship or its cargo.
the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up lawsuits and quarrels.
the purchase or sale of ecclesiastical preferments or of offices of state.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Also barretry.

Origin of barratry

1400–50; late Middle English barratrie<Anglo-French, Middle French baraterie combat, fighting. See barrator, -ery


bar·ra·trous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for barratry

British Dictionary definitions for barratry



/ (ˈbærətrɪ) /


criminal law (formerly) the vexatious stirring up of quarrels or bringing of lawsuits
maritime law a fraudulent practice committed by the master or crew of a ship to the prejudice of the owner or charterer
Scots law the crime committed by a judge in accepting a bribe
the purchase or sale of public or Church offices

Derived forms of barratry

barratrous or barretrous, adjectivebarratrously or barretrously, adverb

Word Origin for barratry

C15: from Old French baraterie deception, from barater to barter
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