in·​dus·​try ˈin-(ˌ)də-strē How to pronounce industry (audio)
plural industries
: manufacturing activity as a whole
the nation's industry
: a distinct group of productive or profit-making enterprises
the banking industry
: a department or branch of a craft, art, business, or manufacture
especially : one that employs a large personnel and capital especially in manufacturing
: systematic labor especially for some useful purpose or the creation of something of value
: diligence in an employment or pursuit
especially : steady or habitual effort
: work devoted to the study of a particular subject or author
the Shakespeare industry
Choose the Right Synonym for industry

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.

Example Sentences

He favors policies that promote industry. She invested in several large industries. She became so popular that a whole industry grew up around her and her image.
Recent Examples on the Web The telecom industry is among the most enterprising with its lobbying. Kevin Collier, NBC News, 3 Feb. 2023 This whole industry is the most joyous, absurd circus. Jacklyn Krol, Peoplemag, 3 Feb. 2023 The industry’s recent job cuts have been an awakening for a generation of workers who have never experienced a cyclical crash. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2023 Yet the industry is also infamous for low pay and overwork. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2023 Supporters of the bill say the fast-food industry is rife with poor working conditions, including low pay, few benefits, and frequent violations of workplace laws. Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 2 Feb. 2023 The gas industry is not, at the end of the day, worried about right-wing voters. Maxine Joselow,, 2 Feb. 2023 Car sales have also held up as the supply chain untangles and the industry is finally able to meet demand. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 1 Feb. 2023 Cause the industry is not about to understand you in any f–king way. Hannah Jocelyn, Billboard, 31 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English (Scots) industrie, from Middle French, from Latin industria, from industrius diligent, from Old Latin indostruus, perhaps from indu in + -struus (akin to Latin struere to build) — more at end-, strew

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of industry was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near industry

Cite this Entry

“Industry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​dus·​try ˈin-(ˌ)dəs-trē How to pronounce industry (audio)
plural industries
: the habit of working hard and steadily : diligence
: steady labor
lived by their own industry
: the businesses that provide a particular product or service
the steel industry
the tourist industry
: manufacturing activity
commerce and industry

More from Merriam-Webster on industry

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