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 (môr′ə-tôr′ē-əm, mŏr′-)
n. pl. mor·a·to·ri·ums or mor·a·to·ri·a (-tôr′ē-ə)
1. Law
a. A lawful suspension of the payment of certain debts during a period of financial or civil distress.
b. The period during which such a suspension occurs.
2. A suspension of an ongoing or planned activity: a moratorium on timber cutting.

[From Late Latin morātōrium, neuter of morātōrius, delaying, from Latin morātus, past participle of morārī, to delay, from mora, delay.]

mor′a·to′ry adj.
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1497 of the Civil Code); the law does not grant legal value to the time when the debtor gave the payment order to his bank, but if he fulfilled his obligation within a reasonable time so that the bank transfer was in due time, and yet the discharge of the obligation was delayed for reasons attributable to his bank, the debtor may be forced to pay moratory damages to the creditor (the basis of his liability being guilt in eligendo), but this can be remedied in an action for damages against the culpable bank.
Feller, Moratory Legislation: A Comparative Study, 46 HARV.
Exchange controls and other moratory laws prohibiting or restricting payments of foreign debt often are associated with periods of social, political, and economic stress.