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noun \ˈtrād\

Simple Definition of trade

  • : the activity or process of buying, selling, or exchanging goods or services

  • : the amount of things or services that are bought and sold : the money made by buying and selling things or services

  • : the act of exchanging one thing for another

Full Definition of trade

  1. 1a obsolete :  a path traversed :  wayb archaic :  a track or trail left by a person or animal :  tread 1

  2. 2 :  a customary course of action :  practice <thy sin's not accidental, but a trade — Shakespeare>

  3. 3a :  the business or work in which one engages regularly :  occupationb :  an occupation requiring manual or mechanical skill :  craftc :  the persons engaged in an occupation, business, or industry

  4. 4a obsolete :  dealings between persons or groupsb (1) :  the business of buying and selling or bartering commodities :  commerce (2) :  business, market <novelties for the tourist trade> <did a good trade in small appliances>

  5. 5a :  an act or instance of trading :  transaction; also :  an exchange of property usually without use of moneyb :  a firm's customers :  clientelec :  the group of firms engaged in a business or industry

  6. 6 :  trade wind —usually used in plural

  7. 7 :  a publication intended for persons in the entertainment business —usually used in plural

Examples of trade

  1. the trade between the two countries

  2. Trade accounts for half of our gross national product.

  3. The Tigers made a few good trades this season and picked up some promising players.

Origin of trade

Middle English, from Middle Low German; akin to Old High German trata track, course, Old English tredan to tread

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of trade

business, commerce, trade, industry, traffic mean activity concerned with the supplying and distribution of commodities. business may be an inclusive term but specifically designates the activities of those engaged in the purchase or sale of commodities or in related financial transactions. commerce and trade imply the exchange and transportation of commodities. industry applies to the producing of commodities, especially by manufacturing or processing, usually on a large scale. traffic applies to the operation and functioning of public carriers of goods and persons.




Simple Definition of trade

  • : to give something to someone and receive something in return : to give something in exchange for something else

  • sports : to give (one of your players) to another team in exchange for one of their players

  • : to stop using (one thing) and start using another

Full Definition of trade


  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 obsolete :  to have dealings :  negotiate

  3. 2a :  to engage in the exchange, purchase, or sale of goodsb :  to make one's purchases :  shop <trades at his store>

  4. 3 :  to give one thing in exchange for another

  5. 4 :  sell 3

  6. transitive verb
  7. 1 archaic :  to do business with

  8. 2a :  to give in exchange for another commodity :  barter; also :  to make an exchange of <traded places>b :  to engage in frequent buying and selling of (as stocks or commodities) usually in search of quick profits

trad·able also trade·able play \ˈtrā-də-bəl\ adjective
trade on
  1. :  to take often unscrupulous advantage of :  exploit <traded on their influence…in securing special favors — T. C. Pease>

Examples of trade

  1. If you don't like your seat, I'll trade with you.

  2. I traded seats with her halfway through the show.

  3. He was traded to the Yankees.

  4. They traded him to the Broncos.

  5. I traded my pen for a pencil and kept writing.

  6. Their firm specializes in trading bonds.

  7. She mostly trades in stocks.


First Known Use of trade





Definition of trade

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or used in trade

  2. 2a :  intended for or limited to persons in a business or industry <a trade publication> <trade sales>b :  serving others in the same business rather than the ultimate user or consumer <a trade printing house>

  3. 3 also trades :  of, composed of, or representing the trades or trade unions <a trade committee>

  4. 4 :  having a larger softcover format than that of a mass-market paperback and usually sold only in bookstores <trade paperbacks>; also :  of or relating to the publishing of such books


First Known Use of trade


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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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