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moratorium

[mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uh m, -tohr-, mor-]
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noun, plural mor·a·to·ri·a [mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uh, -tohr-, mor-] /ˌmɔr əˈtɔr i ə, -ˈtoʊr-, ˌmɒr-/, mor·a·to·ri·ums.
  1. a suspension of activity: a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons.
  2. a legally authorized period to delay payment of money due or the performance of some other legal obligation, as in an emergency.
  3. an authorized period of delay or waiting.
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Origin of moratorium

1870–75; < New Latin, Late Latin morātōrium, noun use of neuter of morātōrius moratory
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for moratorium

moratorium

noun plural -ria (-rɪə) or -riums
  1. a legally authorized postponement of the fulfilment of an obligation
  2. an agreed suspension of activity
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Derived Formsmoratory (ˈmɒrətərɪ, -trɪ), adjective

Word Origin

C19: New Latin, from Late Latin morātōrius dilatory, from mora delay
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 moratorium

n.

1875, originally a legal term for "authorization to a debtor to postpone payment," from neuter of Late Latin moratorius "tending to delay," from Latin morari "to delay," from mora "pause, delay," from PIE *mere- "to hinder, delay." The word didn't come out of italics until 1914. General sense of "a postponement, deliberate temporary suspension" is first recorded 1932. Related: Moratorial.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

moratorium in Culture

moratorium

[(mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uhm)]

A period of delay agreed to by parties to a dispute or parties who are negotiating. A moratorium may also be an authorized delay in the repayment of a loan, especially by a nation (as in a moratorium on war debts).

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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.