noun, plural em·bar·goes.

an order of a government prohibiting the movement of merchant ships into or out of its ports.
an injunction from a government commerce agency to refuse freight for shipment, as in case of congestion or insufficient facilities.
any restriction imposed upon commerce by edict.
a restraint or hindrance; prohibition.

verb (used with object), em·bar·goed, em·bar·go·ing.

to impose an embargo on.

Origin of embargo

1595–1605; < Spanish, derivative of embargar to hinder, embarrass < Vulgar Latin *imbarricāre, equivalent to im- im-1 + -barricāre (*barr(a) bar1 + -icāre causative suffix)
Related formspre·em·bar·go, adjective
Can be confusedboycott embargo

Synonyms for embargo

4. ban, restriction, interdiction, postscription.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for embargoed

Contemporary Examples of embargoed

  • The BBC embargoed previews of the Panorama documentary until transmission.

  • Almost all the hundreds of hours of interviews I conducted were embargoed—that is, not for publication before the end of 2008.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why I Went Back to Iraq

    Thomas E. Ricks

    February 10, 2009

Historical Examples of embargoed

  • Napoleon decreed, and embargoed, and sequestered, with little effect upon national sentiment outside of New England.

  • There are even many kinds of industrial raw materials and products which have never been embargoed by the Western Governments.

    East-West Trade Trends

    Harold E. Stassen

  • It is understood that both rubber and leather, together with wool, have been embargoed by most of the belligerent countries.

British Dictionary definitions for embargoed


noun plural -goes

a government order prohibiting the departure or arrival of merchant ships in its ports
any legal stoppage of commercean embargo on arms shipments
a restraint, hindrance, or prohibition

verb -goes, -going or -goed (tr)

to lay an embargo upon
to seize for use by the state

Word Origin for embargo

C16: from Spanish, from embargar, from Latin im- + barra bar 1
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 embargoed



1590s, from Spanish embargo "seizure, embargo," noun of action from embargar "restrain impede," from Vulgar Latin *imbarricare, from in- "into, upon" (see in- (2)) + *barra (see bar (n.1)). As a verb, from 1640s. Related: Embargoed.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

embargoed in Culture


A governmental restriction on trade for political purposes. The objective is to put pressure on other governments by prohibiting exports to or imports from those countries.

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.