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noun traf·fic \ˈtra-fik\

Simple Definition of traffic

  • : all the vehicles driving along a certain road or in a certain area

  • : the movement of airplanes, ships, etc., along routes

  • : the amount of people who pass through a certain place or travel in a certain way

Full Definition of traffic

  1. 1a :  import and export tradeb :  the business of bartering or buying and sellingc :  illegal or disreputable usually commercial activity <the drug traffic>

  2. 2a :  communication or dealings especially between individuals or groupsb :  exchange <a lively traffic in ideas — F. L. Allen>

  3. 3 archaic :  wares, goods

  4. 4a (1) :  the movement (as of vehicles or pedestrians) through an area or along a route (2) :  the vehicles, pedestrians, ships, or planes moving along a route (3) :  congestion of vehicles <stuck in traffic>b :  the information or signals transmitted over a communications system :  messages

  5. 5a :  the passengers or cargo carried by a transportation systemb :  the business of transporting passengers or freight

  6. 6 :  the volume of customers visiting a business establishment <restaurant traffic>

  7. 7 :  a concentration of participants or players and especially defensive players <force difficult shots in traffic>

the traffic will bear
  1. :  existing conditions will allow or permit <charge what the traffic will bear>

Examples of traffic

  1. Let's leave early to avoid rush hour traffic.

  2. Traffic is backed up to the bridge.

  3. Barge traffic was halted because of flooding.

  4. Airlines saw a decrease in passenger traffic this year.

Origin of traffic

Middle French trafique, from Old Italian traffico, from trafficare to trade in coastal waters

First Known Use: 1549

Synonym Discussion of traffic

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.

Rhymes with traffic



verb traf·fic

Simple Definition of traffic

  • : to buy or sell something especially illegally

Full Definition of traffic


  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to carry on traffic

  3. 2 :  to concentrate one's effort or interest; broadly :  engage, deal <a writer who often traffics in hyperbole>

  4. transitive verb
  5. 1a :  to travel over <heavily trafficked highways>b :  to visit as a customer <a highly trafficked bookstore>

  6. 2 :  trade, barter

traf·fick·er noun

Examples of traffic

  1. <arrested him for trafficking in drugs>


First Known Use of traffic


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February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

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