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noun | im-BAHR-goh
What It Means
Embargo refers to a government order that limits trade in some way. In broader usage, embargo can function as a synonym of prohibition.
// The government has placed an embargo on arms shipments.
Examples of EMBARGO
“Since its review embargo lifted on July 18, ‘Barbie’ has received a largely positive critical response, with The Independent describing it as ‘a near-miraculous achievement’ and The Times dubbing it ‘a gorgeous and fascinating mishmash.’” — Eleanor Burleigh, The Bucks Free Press (Buckinghamshire, England), 21 July 2023
Did You Know?
English speakers got embargo—both the word and the concept, it seems—from the Spanish in the early 17th century. The word first referred specifically to a government order prohibiting commercial ships from entering or leaving that country’s ports. (The Spanish word comes from embargar, “to bar.”) By the middle of the 17th century embargo was being used more broadly to refer to any government order that limits trade in some way. Today, the word is applied more broadly still to refer to various prohibitions. Publishers, for example, often place an embargo on a book to prevent stores from selling it before its official release date. And in Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, Anne Elliot says “I lay no embargo on anybody’s words.” We feel similarly.
Merriam Webster Dictionary