com·​mod·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈmä-də-tē How to pronounce commodity (audio) \
plural commodities

Essential Meaning of commodity

1 : something that is bought and sold agricultural commodities like grain and corn Oil is a commodity in high demand. commodity prices
2 : something or someone that is useful or valued Patience is a rare commodity. an actor who is a hot commodity [=who is very popular] in Hollywood right now

Full Definition of commodity

1 : an economic good: such as
a : a product of agriculture or mining agricultural commodities like grain and corn
b : an article of commerce especially when delivered for shipment reported the damaged commodities to officials
c : a mass-produced unspecialized product commodity chemicals commodity memory chips
2a : something useful or valued that valuable commodity, patience also : thing, entity
b : convenience, advantage … the many commodities incidental to the life of a public office …— Charles Lamb
3 : a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (such as brand name) other than price
4 : one that is subject to ready exchange or exploitation within a market … stars as individuals and as commodities of the film industry.Film Quarterly
5 obsolete : quantity, lot

Examples of commodity in a Sentence

agricultural commodities like grain and corn Oil is a commodity in high demand. Patience is a rare commodity.
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Recent Examples on the Web Although they are traded like a commodity, carbon credits are conceptual, not physical. Rochelle Toplensky, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2022 Once prized as either ornamentation or commodity, trees are now sought for their environmental and social benefits as well. Nick Roll, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Jan. 2022 How does a ragged art-folk collective that loves making music as much as Big Thief make sense of its position near the top of the streaming-era, content-as-commodity indie rock ladder? Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone, 5 Jan. 2022 Over the past couple years, classic penny loafers have risen to the ranks of sneakers as a hot footwear commodity. Kareem Rashed, Robb Report, 16 Nov. 2021 But gas stations can seemingly blend together, and fuel serves as a commodity. Jocelyn Sexton, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 However, Japanese firms still face risks from higher commodity costs and supply bottlenecks, which threaten to undermine the economic outlook over the short- to mid-term. Reuters, CNN, 15 Nov. 2021 Hannity said that working class families are watching their dollars be worth less, their commodity costs going up, and their energy prices skyrocket going into the colder months of the Northern Hemisphere. Fox News, 11 Nov. 2021 Rising commodity costs, supply chain snarls and labor shortages are forcing Americans to pay more for items from meat to gasoline. Naomi Ludlow, USA TODAY, 11 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commodity.' 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 commodity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for commodity

Middle English commoditee, from Anglo-French, from Latin commoditat-, commoditas, from commodus

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Time Traveler for commodity

Time Traveler

The first known use of commodity was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near commodity



commodity dollar

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Statistics for commodity

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Commodity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for commodity


com·​mod·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈmä-də-tē How to pronounce commodity (audio) \
plural commodities

Kids Definition of commodity

: something produced by agriculture, mining, or manufacture


com·​mod·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈmä-də-tē How to pronounce commodity (audio) \
plural commodities

Legal Definition of commodity

: a class of economic goods especially : an item of merchandise (as soybeans) whose price is the basis of futures trading

More from Merriam-Webster on commodity

Nglish: Translation of commodity for Spanish Speakers

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


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