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an advantageous purchase, especially one acquired at less than the usual cost:
The sale offered bargains galore.
an agreement between parties settling what each shall give and take or perform and receive in a transaction.
such an agreement as affecting one of the parties:
a losing bargain.
something acquired by bargaining.
Informal. an agreeable person, especially one who causes no trouble or difficulty (usually used in negative constructions):
His boss is no bargain.
to discuss the terms of a bargain; haggle; negotiate.
to come to an agreement; make a bargain:
We bargained on a three-year term.
to arrange by bargain; negotiate:
to bargain a new wage increase.
to anticipate as likely to occur; expect (usually followed by a clause):
I’ll bargain that he’s going to give those company directors plenty of trouble.
bargain for, to anticipate or take into account:
The job turned out to be more than he had bargained for.
bargain on, to expect or anticipate; count or rely on:
You can’t bargain on what she’ll do in this situation.
in / into the bargain, over and above what has been stipulated; moreover; besides:
The new housekeeper proved to be a fine cook in the bargain.
strike a bargain, to make a bargain; agree to terms:
They were unable to strike a bargain because the owner’s asking price was more than the prospective buyer could afford.
Contemporary Examples

Rabin despised Arafat, and had no faith he would keep his part of the bargain.
The Ghosts of Israel’s Past John Barry September 13, 2011

Priced at $6 million to $8 million, it seems like a bargain.
The Art World’s New Math Paul Laster May 4, 2009

Now the risk is high for no bargain, more paralysis—and a speaker job in peril.
As Plan B Fails, GOP Imperils Fiscal Cliff Deal, Boehner’s Speakership John Avlon December 20, 2012

The magic lies in the “bargain” portion and like any good bargain you want to benefit more than the person on the other side.
How Justin Bieber Can Beat His DUI Eboni K. Williams February 25, 2014

Into the bargain, FedEx would save itself—and cost the Redskins—something on the order of $75 million over a decade.
So Redskins Sponsor FedEx Is OK With That Racist Team Name, Too? Michael Tomasky June 19, 2014

Historical Examples

War itself had become a matter of arrangement, bargain, and diplomacy.
New Italian sketches John Addington Symonds

“I think you’d better call this bargain off, Mr. Porter,” remonstrated Crane.
Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser

And as often as not he took away with his bargain a glance which was equivalent to a kick.
In the Year of Jubilee George Gissing

“That’s a bargain; and I’ll teach Bill too,” she added with native tact.
Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

His horses turned out to be gentle and strong, and we made a bargain without noise.
The Trail of the Goldseekers Hamlin Garland

an agreement or contract establishing what each party will give, receive, or perform in a transaction between them
something acquired or received in such an agreement

something bought or offered at a low price: a bargain at an auction
(as modifier): a bargain price

into the bargain, (US) in the bargain, in excess of what has been stipulated; besides
make a bargain, strike a bargain, to agree on terms
(intransitive) to negotiate the terms of an agreement, transaction, etc
(transitive) to exchange, as in a bargain
to arrive at (an agreement or settlement)

late 14c., from Old French bargaignier (12c., Modern French barguigner) “to haggle over the price,” perhaps from Frankish *borganjan “to lend” or some other Germanic source, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *borgan (cf. Old High German borgen; Old English borgian, source of borrow). Another suggestion is that the French word comes from Late Latin barca “a barge,” because it “carries goods to and fro.” There are difficulties with both suggestions. Related: Bargained; bargaining.

mid-14c., “business transaction or agreement,” also “that which is acquired by bargaining,” from Old French bargaine, from bargaignier (see bargain (v.)). Meaning “article priced for special sale” is from 1899. A bargain basement (1899) originally was a basement floor in a store where bargains were displayed.

Related Terms

no bargain
In addition to the idiom beginning with


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  • Bargain basement

    a basement area in some stores where goods are sold at prices lower than usual. very low-priced. noticeably lacking in quality; inferior. noun part of a shop where goods are sold at reduced prices

  • Bargain counter

    a counter or area in a retail store where merchandise is sold at reduced prices. Historical Examples “Ask him if there’s a bargain counter anywhere in the dining-room,” whispered Peaches. You Should Worry Says John Henry George V. Hobart What I learned from Pauline was that most of it came by way of the bargain […]

  • Bargaining chip

    something, as a concession or inducement, that can be used in negotiating. Contemporary Examples That victory for the tab became a bargaining chip in all future dealings with the superstar. I Warned You About Bill Cosby in 2007 Mark Ebner November 19, 2014 Instead of seeing it as a bargaining chip, perhaps we should treat […]

  • Bargaining unit

    a group of employees represented by a union in collective bargaining. noun a specific group of employees who are covered by the same collective agreement or set of agreements and represented by the same bargaining agent or agents

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