- an international syndicate, combine, or trust formed especially to regulate prices and output in some field of business.
- a coalition of political or special-interest groups having a common cause, as to encourage the passage of a certain law.
- a written agreement between belligerents, especially for the exchange of prisoners.
- a written challenge to a duel.
- Also called: trust a collusive international association of independent enterprises formed to monopolize production and distribution of a product or service, control prices, etc
- politics an alliance of parties or interests to further common aims
1550s, “a written challenge,” from Middle French cartel (16c.), from Italian cartello “placard,” diminutive of carta “card” (see card (n.1)). It came to mean “written agreement between challengers” (1690s) and then “a written agreement between challengers” (1889). Sense of “a commercial trust, an association of industrialists” comes 1902, via German Kartell, which is from French. The older U.S. term for that is trust (n.). The usual German name for them was Interessengemeinschaft, abbreviated IG.
An association in which producers of a similar or identical product try to obtain a monopoly over the sale of the product.