1. Usually dealings. relations; business: frequent dealings; commercial dealings.
  2. conduct in relations to others; treatment: honest dealing.

verb (used without object), dealt, deal·ing.

  1. to occupy oneself or itself (usually followed by with or in): Botany deals with the study of plants. He deals in generalities.
  2. to take action with respect to a thing or person (followed by with): Law courts must deal with lawbreakers.
  3. to conduct oneself toward persons: He deals fairly.
  4. to be able to handle competently or successfully; cope (followed by with): I can’t deal with your personal problems.
  5. to trade or do business (followed by with or in): to deal with a firm; to deal in used cars.
  6. to distribute, especially the cards in a game (often followed by out): to deal out five hands of six cards each; your turn to deal.
  7. Slang. to buy and sell drugs illegally.
  8. Archaic. to have dealings or commerce, often in a secret or underhand manner (often followed by with): to deal with the Devil.

verb (used with object), dealt, deal·ing.

  1. to give to one as a share; apportion: Deal me in.
  2. to distribute among a number of recipients, as the cards required in a game: Deal five cards to each player.
  3. Cards. to give a player (a specific card) in dealing: You dealt yourself four aces.
  4. to deliver; administer: to deal a blow.
  5. Slang. to buy and sell (drugs) illegally.
  6. Slang. to trade (an athlete) to another team.


  1. a business transaction: They closed the deal after a week of negotiating.
  2. a bargain or arrangement for mutual advantage: the best deal in town.
  3. a secret or underhand agreement or bargain: His supporters worked a number of deals to help his campaign.
  4. Informal. treatment received in dealing with another: He got a raw deal.
  5. an indefinite but large quantity, amount, extent, or degree (usually preceded by good or great): a good deal of work; a great deal of money.
  6. Cards.
    1. the distribution of cards to the players in a game.
    2. the set of cards in one’s hand.
    3. the turn of a player to deal.
    4. the period of time during which a deal is played.
  7. an act of dealing or distributing.
  8. (initial capital letter) an economic and social policy pursued by a political administration: the Fair Deal; the New Deal.
  9. Obsolete. portion; share.

Verb Phrases

  1. deal off,
    1. deal the final hand of a game.
    2. get rid of or trade (something or someone) in a transaction.

  1. cut a deal, Informal. to make an agreement, especially a business agreement: Networks have cut a deal with foreign stations for an international hookup.
  2. deal someone in, Slang. to include: He was making a lot of dough in the construction business so I got him to deal me in.


  1. a town in SE England, in Kent, on the English Channel: two 16th-century castles: tourism, light industries. Pop: 96 670 (2003 est)

verb deals, dealing or dealt (dɛlt)

  1. (intr foll by in) to engage (in) commerciallyto deal in upholstery
  2. (often foll by out) to apportion (something, such as cards) to a number of people; distribute
  3. (tr) to give (a blow) to (someone); inflict
  4. (intr) slang to sell any illegal drug


  1. informal a bargain, transaction, or agreement
  2. a particular type of treatment received, esp as the result of an agreementa fair deal
  3. an indefinite amount, extent, or degree (esp in the phrases good or great deal)
  4. cards
    1. the process of distributing the cards
    2. a player’s turn to do this
    3. a single round in a card game
  5. See big deal
  6. cut a deal informal, mainly US to come to an arrangement; make a dealSee also deal with
  7. the real deal informal a person or thing seen as being authentic and not inferior in any way


  1. a plank of softwood timber, such as fir or pine, or such planks collectively
  2. the sawn wood of various coniferous trees, such as that from the Scots pine (red deal) or from the Norway Spruce (white deal)


  1. of fir or pine

Old English dælan “to divide, distribute, separate, share, bestow, dispense,” from the source of deal (n.). Meaning “to distribute cards before a game” is from 1520s. To deal with “handle” is attested from mid-15c. Related: Dealt; dealing.


from Old English dæl “part, share, quantity, amount,” from Proto-Germanic *dailaz (cf. Old Norse deild, Old Frisian del, Dutch deel, Old High German and German teil, Gothic dails “part, share”), from PIE *dail- “to divide” (cf. Old Church Slavonic delu “part,” Lithuanian dalis).

Business sense of “transaction, bargain” is 1837, originally slang. Meaning “an amount” is from 1560s. New Deal is from F.D. Roosevelt speech of July 1932. Big deal is 1928; ironic use first recorded 1951 in “Catcher in the Rye.” Deal breaker is attested by 1975.


“plank or board of pine,” c.1400, from Low German (cf. Middle Low German dele), from Proto-Germanic *theljon, from PIE root *tel- “ground, floor.” An Old English derivative was þelu “hewn wood, board, flooring.”

In addition to the idioms beginning with deal

  • deal in
  • deal out
  • deal with

also see:

  • big deal
  • close the sale (deal)
  • cut a deal
  • done deal
  • good deal
  • make a federal case (big deal)
  • no deal
  • raw deal
  • square deal
  • sweeten the kitty (deal)
  • wheel and deal

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