See more synonyms for deal on
verb (used without object), dealt, deal·ing.
  1. to occupy oneself or itself (usually followed by with or in): Botany deals with the study of plants. He deals in generalities.
  2. to take action with respect to a thing or person (followed by with): Law courts must deal with lawbreakers.
  3. to conduct oneself toward persons: He deals fairly.
  4. to be able to handle competently or successfully; cope (followed by with): I can't deal with your personal problems.
  5. to trade or do business (followed by with or in): to deal with a firm; to deal in used cars.
  6. to distribute, especially the cards in a game (often followed by out): to deal out five hands of six cards each; your turn to deal.
  7. Slang. to buy and sell drugs illegally.
  8. Archaic. to have dealings or commerce, often in a secret or underhand manner (often followed by with): to deal with the Devil.
verb (used with object), dealt, deal·ing.
  1. to give to one as a share; apportion: Deal me in.
  2. to distribute among a number of recipients, as the cards required in a game: Deal five cards to each player.
  3. Cards. to give a player (a specific card) in dealing: You dealt yourself four aces.
  4. to deliver; administer: to deal a blow.
  5. Slang. to buy and sell (drugs) illegally.
  6. Slang. to trade (an athlete) to another team.
  1. a business transaction: They closed the deal after a week of negotiating.
  2. a bargain or arrangement for mutual advantage: the best deal in town.
  3. a secret or underhand agreement or bargain: His supporters worked a number of deals to help his campaign.
  4. Informal. treatment received in dealing with another: He got a raw deal.
  5. an indefinite but large quantity, amount, extent, or degree (usually preceded by good or great): a good deal of work; a great deal of money.
  6. Cards.
    1. the distribution of cards to the players in a game.
    2. the set of cards in one's hand.
    3. the turn of a player to deal.
    4. the period of time during which a deal is played.
  7. an act of dealing or distributing.
  8. (initial capital letter) an economic and social policy pursued by a political administration: the Fair Deal; the New Deal.
  9. Obsolete. portion; share.
Verb Phrases
  1. deal off,
    1. deal the final hand of a game.
    2. get rid of or trade (something or someone) in a transaction.
  1. cut a deal, Informal. to make an agreement, especially a business agreement: Networks have cut a deal with foreign stations for an international hookup.
  2. deal someone in, Slang. to include: He was making a lot of dough in the construction business so I got him to deal me in.

Origin of deal

before 900; (v.) Middle English delen, Old English dǣlan (cognate with German teilen), derivative of dǣl part (cognate with German Teil); (noun) in part derivative of the v.; (in defs 19, 23) Middle English deel, del(e), Old English dǣl

Synonyms for deal

See more synonyms for on


  1. a board or plank, especially of fir or pine, cut to any of various standard sizes.
  2. such boards collectively.
  3. fir or pine wood.
  1. made of deal.

Origin of deal

1375–1425; late Middle English dele < Middle Low German or Middle Dutch; see thill Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deal

Contemporary Examples of deal

Historical Examples of deal

  • A deal with the Rothschilds for control of the Spanish mines had fallen through.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He became obsessed with the idea that the people with whom he had to deal were "out to get him."

  • The men I had to deal with were more to be pitied than blamed.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • No, he couldn't go just yet—he'd have to stay with the deal another month.

  • It is from this point of view that we must deal with the early idea of God as a God of battles.

British Dictionary definitions for deal


verb deals, dealing or dealt (dɛlt)
  1. (intr foll by in) to engage (in) commerciallyto deal in upholstery
  2. (often foll by out) to apportion (something, such as cards) to a number of people; distribute
  3. (tr) to give (a blow) to (someone); inflict
  4. (intr) slang to sell any illegal drug
  1. informal a bargain, transaction, or agreement
  2. a particular type of treatment received, esp as the result of an agreementa fair deal
  3. an indefinite amount, extent, or degree (esp in the phrases good or great deal)
  4. cards
    1. the process of distributing the cards
    2. a player's turn to do this
    3. a single round in a card game
  5. See big deal
  6. cut a deal informal, mainly US to come to an arrangement; make a dealSee also deal with
  7. the real deal informal a person or thing seen as being authentic and not inferior in any way

Word Origin for deal

Old English dǣlan, from dǣl a part; compare Old High German teil a part, Old Norse deild a share


  1. a plank of softwood timber, such as fir or pine, or such planks collectively
  2. the sawn wood of various coniferous trees, such as that from the Scots pine (red deal) or from the Norway Spruce (white deal)
  1. of fir or pine

Word Origin for deal

C14: from Middle Low German dele plank; see thill


  1. a town in SE England, in Kent, on the English Channel: two 16th-century castles: tourism, light industries. Pop: 96 670 (2003 est)
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 deal

from Old English dæl "part, share, quantity, amount," from Proto-Germanic *dailaz (cf. Old Norse deild, Old Frisian del, Dutch deel, Old High German and German teil, Gothic dails "part, share"), from PIE *dail- "to divide" (cf. Old Church Slavonic delu "part," Lithuanian dalis).

Business sense of "transaction, bargain" is 1837, originally slang. Meaning "an amount" is from 1560s. New Deal is from F.D. Roosevelt speech of July 1932. Big deal is 1928; ironic use first recorded 1951 in "Catcher in the Rye." Deal breaker is attested by 1975.


"plank or board of pine," c.1400, from Low German (cf. Middle Low German dele), from Proto-Germanic *theljon, from PIE root *tel- "ground, floor." An Old English derivative was þelu "hewn wood, board, flooring."


Old English dælan "to divide, distribute, separate, share, bestow, dispense," from the source of deal (n.). Meaning "to distribute cards before a game" is from 1520s. To deal with "handle" is attested from mid-15c. Related: Dealt; dealing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with deal


In addition to the idioms beginning with deal

  • deal in
  • deal out
  • deal with

also see:

  • big deal
  • close the sale (deal)
  • cut a deal
  • done deal
  • good deal
  • make a federal case (big deal)
  • no deal
  • raw deal
  • square deal
  • sweeten the kitty (deal)
  • wheel and deal
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.