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n. pl. bar·ra·tries
1. The act or practice of bringing a groundless lawsuit or lawsuits.
2. An unlawful breach of duty on the part of a ship's master or crew resulting in injury to the ship's owner.
3. Sale or purchase of positions in church or state.
[Middle English barratrie, the sale of church offices, from Old French baraterie, deception, malversation, from barater, to cheat; see barrator.]
bar′ra·trous (-trəs) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.