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U.S. government

A contract is

[a] mutually binding legal relationship obligating the seller to furnish the specified supplies or services (including construction) and the buyer to pay for them. It includes all types of commitments that obligate the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds and that, except as otherwise authorized, are in writing. In addition to bilateral instruments, contracts include (but are not limited to) awards and notices of awards; job orders or task letters issued under basic ordering agreements; letter contracts; orders, such as purchase orders, under which the contract becomes effective by written acceptance or performance; and bilateral contract modifications. Contracts do not include grants and cooperative agreements covered by 31 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.[1]

Uniform Commercial Code

Under Section 2-106(1) of the Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.), "unless the context otherwise requires," the term contract is "limited to those relating to the present or future sale of goods."


  1. GSA, A Guide to Planning, Acquiring, and Managing Information Technology Systems, at A-2 to A-3 (Ver. 1 Dec. 1998).

See also