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.

Examples of industry in a Sentence

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 Regulation of interstate pollution is a federal area governed by federal law, lawyers for the energy industry argued. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 10 June 2024 The decades-long way of making money in the film and TV industry has been turned upside down by new technologies, changing public appetites and the globalization of the workforce. Don Lee, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2024 Working in the entertainment industry runs in Julia Louis-Dreyfus' family, and the talent for it has been passed down to her two children, Henry and Charlie. Jacklyn Krol, Peoplemag, 10 June 2024 To get an idea of how much money is being made every day in the human smuggling industry along the border, some simple math is required. Matt Rivers, ABC News, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for industry 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'industry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 25 Jun. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!