1875, originally a legal term for "authorization to a debtor to postpone payment," from neuter of Late Latin moratorius "tending to delay," from Latin morari "to delay," from mora "pause, delay," from PIE *morh- "to hinder, delay" (source also of Sanskrit amurchat "to congeal, become solid;" Old Irish maraid "lasts, remains"). The word didn't come out of italics until 1914. General sense of "a postponement, deliberate temporary suspension" is first recorded 1932. Related: Moratorial.
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