com·​merce | \ ˈkä-(ˌ)mərs How to pronounce commerce (audio) \

Definition of commerce

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : social intercourse : interchange of ideas, opinions, or sentiments … a negotiated peace that will reestablish intellectual commerce among them …— P. B. Rice
2 : the exchange or buying and selling of commodities on a large scale involving transportation from place to place a major center of commerce interstate commerce


com·​merce | \ ˈkä-(ˌ)mərs How to pronounce commerce (audio) , kə-ˈmərs \
commerced; commercing

Definition of commerce (Entry 2 of 2)

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Synonyms for commerce

Synonyms: Noun

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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.

Examples of commerce in a Sentence

Noun He was the Secretary of Commerce under the last President. a government agency in charge of regulating interstate commerce
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun PopSci’s commerce editor will be updating this story with the best deals from now until the end of Prime Day on Oct. 14. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "The best Amazon Prime Day deals you’ll find in 2020," 13 Oct. 2020 Broidy and his team invited U.S. officials, including the ambassador to Romania and Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. Nicholas Confessore, Star Tribune, "The swamp that Trump built: How the president reinvented D.C.'s culture of favor-seeking," 10 Oct. 2020 The company has also revamped its e-commerce and payments division. Mark Bergen,, "Google Plans to Make YouTube a Major Shopping Destination," 9 Oct. 2020 With the rise in e-commerce and Amazon’s sophisticated delivery network, retail analysts expect Prime Day to be bigger than expected. NBC News, "Holiday shopping season is starting earlier than ever," 9 Oct. 2020 Coverage of Indigenous issues at the intersection of climate, culture and commerce is supported by the Catena Foundation and the Water Funder Initiative. Support local journalism. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "Biden meets with Arizona tribal leaders to discuss his proposed Native policy proposals," 8 Oct. 2020 Named after its developers Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman, RSA is used to secure things such as email, online banking, e-commerce and electronic communications such as those in the health-care industry. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "The Contest to Protect Almost Everything on the Internet," 7 Oct. 2020 Proponents say dealing directly with Taiwan could help counter some of China’s growing influence in technology and commerce, while also helping to strengthen a democratic ally. New York Times, "Top China Critic Becomes Its Defender," 6 Oct. 2020 If you’re attached to Star Trek science fiction visions of space exploration where commerce is conveniently elided, this may seem lame, but real people can’t just assume a post-scarcity future. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "Why NASA is backing a cosmic cosmetics ad," 1 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commerce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of commerce


1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for commerce

Noun and Verb

Middle French, from Latin commercium, from com- + merc-, merx merchandise

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Time Traveler for commerce

Time Traveler

The first known use of commerce was in 1537

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Statistics for commerce

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commerce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for commerce


How to pronounce commerce (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of commerce

: activities that relate to the buying and selling of goods and services


com·​merce | \ ˈkä-mərs How to pronounce commerce (audio) , -ˌmərs \

Kids Definition of commerce

: the buying and selling of goods especially on a large scale and between different places : trade



Legal Definition of commerce

1 : the exchange or buying and selling of goods, commodities, property, or services especially on a large scale and involving transportation from place to place : trade sense 2 — see also commerce clause, Fair Labor Standards Act
2 : the act of engaging in sexual intercourse

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