Definition of barter in English:



[with object]
  • Exchange (goods or services) for other goods or services without using money.

    ‘he often bartered a meal for drawings’
    no object ‘they were able to buy or barter for most of what they needed’
    • ‘Without language he somehow manages to convey the concept of bartering him food in exchange for the right to see something.’
    • ‘She said in a presentation power cuts were fewer, apartments were being renovated and small firms were at work repairing bicycles and bartering goods.’
    • ‘During the ceremony, the families come together and gifts are bartered and exchanged according to local customs.’
    • ‘Among the victims of the hype are schoolchildren, who seem to have bartered their pocket money for baubles.’
    • ‘Subsistence farmers traditionally bartered everything and had no need for money, but some know they can get cash from stealing artifacts.’
    • ‘He said that Washington bartered goods with the East to establish trade with China as part of nation building.’
    • ‘And if you need something done for your business but don't have the money to pay for it, you can always barter goods or services in exchange.’
    • ‘Warwick's skills as a chimney maker were at a premium in the goldfields, and prized heirlooms were bartered for his services.’
    • ‘Castro stormed from the room a couple of times, bartering a slowdown of the process as a condition for her return.’
    • ‘As the society became more complex, records required to be kept, and computations done as the people bartered their goods.’
    • ‘The most heart wrenching of these stories is that of the 12-year-old who was bartered away by her father in exchange for a woman to marry his son.’
    • ‘Both men and women look forward to the weekly market day when goods are bartered, bought, and sold, and social activity is enjoyed.’
    • ‘Just decades ago, when job security was the top value offered by organizations, employees bartered their commitment and loyalty for assurance of a permanent place in the company.’
    • ‘She is simply bartering goodies in return for comparative quietness.’
    • ‘I took it back with bravado having been so successful bartering the day before.’
    • ‘Consider bartering your time and talent for services you might need.’
    • ‘Most medical societies prohibit members from bartering surgery for public relations purposes.’
    • ‘In this system, people decide they want to reduce their reliance on money through bartering goods and services.’
    • ‘Try bartering a service you can perform in exchange for someone else's service to you.’
    • ‘No, the picture you show twice is actually of dishes that have been bartered for through service exchanges or even paid for through rebates.’
    trade, swap, trade off, exchange, give in exchange, change, traffic, sell
    View synonyms


mass noun
  • 1The action or system of bartering.

    ‘paper money ceases to have any value and people resort to barter’
    • ‘With little cash in circulation, barter is popular.’
    • ‘Bell's accounts also reveal the prevalence of barter over cash transactions.’
    • ‘The programme takes them on a journey through time from barter and trade, to today's financial practises.’
    • ‘A system of digital barter would be set up so that one could download viruses only by contributing new viruses.’
    • ‘Those who survived used credit, barter, and available cash to stay in business.’
    • ‘Of course, this constant barter of cash for influence represents politics as usual.’
    • ‘When you do receive a new exploit, either by paying cash or through barter, pretend it's yours.’
    • ‘Not only did bookkeeping barter accommodate two-way trade, it also facilitated triangular barter.’
    • ‘But even as you convert from trade to cash, barter still may have a place in your business.’
    • ‘Businesses typically get by with a mix of cash and barter.’
    • ‘E-tailers have a lot of returns, and companies that are struggling can use barter to manage their inventories, he adds.’
    • ‘Finally, due to the instability of the financial system in Asia Pacific, counter-trade agreements and barter might be other alternatives for doing business in Asia.’
    • ‘Occasionally, that system of trading degrades into heated barter or anger.’
    • ‘You probably have ways of getting things through fair barter or trade.’
    • ‘I think it safe to say that the world would be back to an enormously complex and chaotic form of barter and that trade would be reduced to a virtual standstill.’
    • ‘They had to resort to direct barter with peasants, exchanging their products or even parts of their machines for food.’
    • ‘The Heqanakht letters show us barter and cash transactions.’
    • ‘That I just might find a friend from barter and trade in no way argues that the store is hospitable to the establishment of friendships.’
    • ‘Burning Man is a refreshing, artsy anomaly in America, a place where commerce and barter are not allowed, replaced instead with selfless giving on an enormous scale.’
    • ‘People genuinely thought that after this there would be no more money systems, that it'd all be barter.’
    trading, trade, exchange, swapping, trafficking, business, commerce, buying and selling, dealing
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Goods or services used in bartering.
      ‘I took a supply of coffee and cigarettes to use as barter’
      • ‘After all, the last time I checked, neither my utility company nor the phone company would accept my skills in barter for their services.’
      • ‘The introduction of muskets, as a major item of trade and barter, was the catalyst for the many conflicts which broke out.’
      • ‘Before commercialization, when lobsters were fished as a subsistence item, or for sale or barter in small local markets, they were typically fished by hand or with gaffs and spears.’
      • ‘The nuts were a vital source of food for their families, autumn forage for their animals, and a commodity for barter and sale.’
      • ‘The right column was a record of credit, of payments in cash or barter made against the debt.’


Late Middle English: probably from Old French barater ‘deceive’ (see barratry).