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 There will be fewer jobs in airlines, hotels, restaurants and traditional retail and more in e-commerce and technology industries. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, "After the fastest recession in U.S. history, the economic recovery may be fizzling," 11 July 2020 Christine Duffy, Carnival president, said in a statement Tuesday that the cruise line is continuing to assess the pandemic's impact on public health, global commerce and cruise operations. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Carnival delays launches of Mardi Gras, cancels some sailings from November through January," 8 July 2020 Amazon has seen accelerating demand for its e-commerce and cloud-computing services during the pandemic, which has closed brick-and-mortar rivals and led more people to work remotely., "Brief Headline," 6 July 2020 He is listed in public records as a student who attended Washington State University between 2011 and 2017 majoring in business and commerce. Martha Bellisle, Anchorage Daily News, "1 of 2 protesters hit by driver on Seattle freeway dies," 5 July 2020 Then, as commerce and industry resumed, case loads began to escalate. William Thornton |, al, "Alabama’s economy, rattled by coronavirus, looks for the way forward," 5 July 2020 Many brick-and-mortar retailers had suffered even before the coronavirus hit, due to inroads made by online commerce and other pressures. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "How commercial real estate in metro Phoenix is faring during COVID-19 pandemic," 4 July 2020 The spread of the virus and efforts to contain it turned one of the world's liveliest urban meccas into a virtual ghost town, driving millions of people out of the city's center and its financial district, and bringing commerce to a sudden halt. Hanna Ziady, CNN, "The UK is reopening for business. London may never be the same," 4 July 2020 Federal judges have routinely given prosecutors wide latitude to pursue cases that may only have tangential links to interstate commerce. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Why is Maple Heights man’s arson case related to Cleveland’s May 30 George Floyd protests a federal case?," 2 July 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

27 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commerce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 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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