Definition of cartel in English:


Syllabification: car·tel
Pronunciation: /kärˈtel


1An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition: the Colombian drug cartels
More example sentences
  • Almost certainly bad news for its competition - drug cartels are notoriously touchy about people cutting into their business.
  • He finds little evidence for effects of export cartels on export prices or volume.
  • This policy of keeping inventories low will deny consumers a buffer against any production cutbacks that the cartel may make if prices weaken.
1.1chiefly historical A coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest.
More example sentences
  • The party established a de facto political cartel that excluded other parties from power.
  • As is often the case in the cosy cartel of party politics, the bigger parties are more than happy to retain the status quo.
  • The two main parties have become a cartel, operating a tacit understanding not to broach any important issue.


late 19th century: from German Kartell, from French cartel, from Italian cartello, diminutive of carta, from Latin carta (see card1). It was originally used to refer to the coalition of the Conservatives and National Liberal parties in Germany (1887), and hence any political combination; later to denote a trade agreement (early 20th century).

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