cartel

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
    examples:
    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.)
    types:
    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
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