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The “Waitangi sheet”, one of nine documents which make up the Treaty of Waitangi (sense 2.2), regarded as the founding document of New Zealand. This sheet was the first to be signed by the consul for the British Crown and Māori chiefs at Waitangi on 6 February 1840.

The noun is derived from Middle English trete, trety (bargaining, negotiation; discussion; conference, meeting; entreaty, persuasion; agreement, contract, covenant; arrangement, settlement; agreement between two rulers, states, etc.; written work on a particular subject, treatise; subdivision of a written work, section) [and other forms],[1] from Anglo-Norman treté, traité, treaté, and Old French traité, traitié [and other forms] (modern French traité (agreement between two rulers, states, etc.; treatise)); traité or traitié is:[2]

The verb is derived from the noun.[2]



treaty (countable and uncountable, plural treaties)

  1. (countable, international law) A formal binding agreement concluded by subjects of international law, namely, states and international organizations; a convention, a pact.
    to sign a peace treaty
    to write up a treaty touching climate change
    • 1622, Francis, Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban [i.e. Francis Bacon], The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh, [], London: [] W[illiam] Stansby for Matthew Lownes, and William Barret, →OCLC, page 47:
      [T]he Duke of Britaine hauing beene an Hoſte, and a kind of Parent or Foſter-father to the King, in his tenderneſſe of age, and vveakneſſe of fortune, did looke for at this time from King Henry (the renovvned King of England) rather braue Troupes for his Succours, then a vaine Treatie of Peace.
    • 1724, [Gilbert] Burnet, “Book I. A Summary Recapitulation of the State of Affairs in Scotland, both in Church and State; []”, in [Gilbert Burnet Jr.], editor, Bishop Burnet’s History of His Own Time. [], volume I, London: [] Thomas Ward [], →OCLC, page 15:
      Soon after his [James VI and I's] coming to the Crown of England he entered into ſecret treaties with Spain, in order to the forcing the States to a peace: []
    • 1776 March 9, Adam Smith, “Of the Principle of the Commercial, or Mercantile System”, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. [], volume II, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, [], →OCLC, book IV (Of Systems of Political Oeconomy), page 29:
      Exportation was encouraged ſometimes by dravvbacks, ſometimes by bounties, ſometimes by advantageous treaties of commerce with foreign ſtates, and ſometimes by eſtabliſhment of colonies in diſtant countries.
  2. (archaic)
    1. (uncountable) Chiefly in in treaty: discussions or negotiations in order to reach an agreement.
    2. (countable) Chiefly in private treaty: an agreement or settlement reached following negotiations; a compact, a contract, a covenant.
  3. (obsolete)
    1. (uncountable) The manner or process of treating someone or something; treatment; also, the manner in which someone or something acts or behaves; behaviour.
    2. (uncountable) The addressing or consideration of a subject; discussion, treatment.
    3. (countable) A formal, systematic discourse on some subject; a treatise.
      • 1650, Thomas Browne, “Of the Second Cause of Popular Errors; the Erroneous Disposition of the People”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], 2nd edition, London: [] A[braham] Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, [], →OCLC, 1st book, page 7:
        And though Galen doth ſometime nibble at Moſes, and beſide the Apoſtate Chriſtian, ſome Heathens have queſtioned his Philoſophicall part or treaty of the Creation: Yet is there ſurely no reaſonable Pagan, that will not admire the rationall and well grounded precepts of Chriſt; []
      • 1724, [Gilbert] Burnet, “Book II. Of the First Twelve Years of the Reign of King Charles II. from the Year 1660 to the Year 1673.”, in [Gilbert Burnet Jr.], editor, Bishop Burnet’s History of His Own Time. [], volume I, London: [] Thomas Ward [], →OCLC, page 326:
        The Miniſters in Holland did upon this occaſion ſhew a very particular violence. In their ſermons, and in ſome printed treaties, they charged the Judges with corruption, who had carried the ſentence no farther than to baniſhment: And compared the fate of the De Wits to Haman’s.
    4. (countable) An act of beseeeching or entreating; an entreaty, a plea, a request.

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treaty (third-person singular simple present treaties, present participle treatying, simple past and past participle treatied)

  1. (transitive) To get into (a specific situation) through a treaty.
  2. (intransitive) To enter into a treaty.



  1. ^ trētẹ̄, n.(3)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 treaty, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “treaty, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

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