[ bahr-ter ]
/ ˈbɑr tər /

verb (used without object)

to trade by exchange of commodities rather than by the use of money.

verb (used with object)

to exchange in trade, as one commodity for another; trade.
to bargain away unwisely or dishonorably (usually followed by away): bartering away his pride for material gain.


the act or practice of bartering.
items or an item for bartering: We arrived with new barter for the villagers.

Origin of barter

1400–50; late Middle English, apparently < Anglo-French, Old French bareter, barater (see barrator), with shift of sense
Related formsbar·ter·er, nounout·bar·ter, verb (used with object)un·bar·tered, adjectiveun·bar·ter·ing, adjective

Synonym study

1, 2. See trade. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for barter

British Dictionary definitions for barter


/ (ˈbɑːtə) /


to trade (goods, services, etc) in exchange for other goods, services, etc, rather than for moneythe refugees bartered for food
(intr) to haggle over the terms of such an exchange; bargain


trade by the exchange of goods
Derived Formsbarterer, noun

Word Origin for barter

C15: from Old French barater to cheat; perhaps related to Greek prattein to do
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 barter



mid-15c., apparently from Old French barater "to barter, cheat, deceive, haggle" (also, "to have sexual intercourse"), 12c., of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Celtic language (cf. Irish brath "treachery"). Connection between "trading" and "cheating" exists in several languages. Related: Bartered; bartering. The noun is first recorded 1590s, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for barter


The exchange of goods or services for other goods or services, rather than for money.

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.