Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Law An authorization to a debtor, such as a bank or nation, permitting temporary suspension of payments.
  • n. Law An authorized period of delay in the performance of an obligation.
  • n. A suspension of an ongoing or planned activity: a moratorium on the deployment of a new weapon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A period during which an obligor has a legal right to delay meeting an obligation, esp. such a period granted, as to a bank, by a moratory law.
  • n. a suspension of an activity.
  • n. an officially authorized period of delay or waiting.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In law, legal title to delay in making a due payment: as a legislative authorization of suspension of payment by a government bank.
  • n. In law, legal title to delay in making a due payment: as a legislative authorization of suspension of payment by a government bank.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a legally authorized postponement before some obligation must be discharged
  • n. suspension of an ongoing activity

Etymologies

From Late Latin morātōrium, neuter of morātōrius, delaying; see moratory.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
New Latin from Late Latin morātōrium, noun use of the neuter of morātōrius ("moratory, delaying"), from Latin moror ("I delay"), from mora ("delay"). See also moratory. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • ETC Group, a group based in Canada, called for a global moratorium on synthetic biology

    May 25, 2010