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 Much of the new push focuses on productivity pressure at the e-commerce giant. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 The company says its Shopee unit, which competes with rivals including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Lazada unit, is the largest e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. Quentin Webb, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2021 The agency had previously warned US consumers to be on alert for counterfeit goods, which have seen rapid growth, according to the agency, with the proliferation of e-commerce sites. Kaanita Iyer, CNN, 5 Sep. 2021 Schrecengost launched her luxury gifting e-commerce platform, Culture With Us, with the goal of increasing diversity among wine producers, because like many industries, the wine industry in the United States is primarily White and male dominated. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, 31 Aug. 2021 Bytedance uses recommendation algorithms to push videos to users, while Alibaba’s algorithms tailor product recommendations to each user on its e-commerce platform Taobao based on their browsing and purchasing history. NBC News, 27 Aug. 2021 The worst of the worst is the e-commerce platform Shopify. Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2021 The beauty and wellness e-commerce platform, founded last year by two advocates for retail inclusivity, has become a destination for beauty brands created by people of color and now has dozens of brands under its umbrella. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, 26 July 2021 In April, for example, the company’s sales on Tmall, a large e-commerce platform run by Alibaba, were up 59% compared to the same time last year, according to a May report by Morningstar, a research firm. Marc Bain, Quartz, 12 July 2021

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

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The first known use of commerce was in 1537

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Dictionary Entries Near commerce




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Statistics for commerce

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commerce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for commerce



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

More from Merriam-Webster on commerce

Nglish: Translation of commerce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of commerce for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about commerce


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