When groups band together to control the supply of a product for their best interests, that’s called a cartel. If you and the other kids running lemonade stands form a cartel, you can force up the price of lemonade.

The word cartel originally referred to political parties that joined forces to promote a common cause. Over the years, cartel took on a decidedly negative connotation, and now it’s more likely to describe organizations that join together to limit supply of a product to force prices to remain high. You might read about an international drug cartel or a cartel of natural gas producers. To correctly pronounce the word cartel, put the accent on the second syllable: “car TEL.”

Definitions of cartel
  1. noun
    a consortium of independent organizations formed to limit competition by controlling the production and distribution of a product or service
    synonyms: combine, corporate trust, trust
    see moresee less
    Medellin cartel
    a drug cartel in Colombia; controlled the production of cocaine from the 1970s until 1993 when the leader was killed
    Cali cartel
    a drug cartel that seized control of cocaine production in Colombia in 1993; adopted techniques used by terrorist organizations (small cells and sophisticated communications equipment and close ties with politicians etc.)
    drug cartel
    an illicit cartel formed to control the production and distribution of narcotic drugs
    oil cartel
    a cartel of companies or nations formed to control the production and distribution of oil
    OPEC, Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries
    an organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the production and sale of petroleum
    type of:
    consortium, pool, syndicate
    an association of companies for some definite purpose
Word Family

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