in·​dus·​try | \ ˈin-(ˌ)də-strē How to pronounce industry (audio) \
plural industries

Definition of industry

1a : manufacturing activity as a whole the nation's industry
b : a distinct group of productive or profit-making enterprises the banking industry
c : a department or branch of a craft, art, business, or manufacture especially : one that employs a large personnel and capital especially in manufacturing
d : systematic labor especially for some useful purpose or the creation of something of value
2 : diligence in an employment or pursuit especially : steady or habitual effort
3 : work devoted to the study of a particular subject or author the Shakespeare industry

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web His interaction with them — particularly his jumps and playfulness — powered a local tourism industry. Washington Post, "A fun-loving dolphin disappears into the deep, and Ireland fears the worst," 23 Oct. 2020 Just north of Venezuela, the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago has had a booming oil and gas industry for years. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, "Climate Point: Killings, land theft surge in Central America to feed our love of beef," 23 Oct. 2020 But telepresence doesn’t have to be as complex as the Model T or Google Glasses to affect an industry. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Remote Work Isn’t Just for White-Collar Jobs Anymore," 22 Oct. 2020 The oil left over from cooking dinner is becoming a hot niche commodity for a European refining industry that’s trying to combat its carbon footprint. Rachel Graham,, "Don’t Discard That Waste Cooking Oil, It May Soon Power Your Car," 22 Oct. 2020 Well, with so many movies, reality tv shows, campfire stories, and a whole tourist industry behind it, ghosts have not only become a normal part of popular culture, but a lucrative business as a well. Leah Hall, Country Living, "Are Ghosts Real? We Got to the Bottom of the Age-Old Question," 21 Oct. 2020 Despite being passed up, there's an industry-wide belief that Grifol will manage in the majors before his coaching career concludes. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "Pedro Grifol has the chops for Detroit Tigers manager job, but is 2021 his time?," 21 Oct. 2020 By 1930, men’s and women’s cosmetics was a $2 billion-a-year industry. Clive Thompson, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Original Selfie Craze Was the Mirror," 21 Oct. 2020 The Office of Dietary Supplement Programs employed fewer than 30 people in 2019, and had an annual budget of $6.6 million—all to regulate a $40 billion industry. Chiara Eisner, Wired, "Americans Took Prevagen for Years—as the FDA Questioned Its Safety," 21 Oct. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of industry

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for industry

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

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Learn More about industry

Time Traveler for industry

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for industry

Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Industry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for industry


How to pronounce industry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of industry

: the process of making products by using machinery and factories
: a group of businesses that provide a particular product or service
: the habit of working hard and steadily


in·​dus·​try | \ ˈin-də-strē How to pronounce industry (audio) \
plural industries

Kids Definition of industry

1 : businesses that provide a certain product or service the oil industry the shipping industry
2 : manufacturing activity In May, industry slowed down.
3 : the habit of working hard and steadily Rab did not immediately spring into action to make a good show of his industry before his master.— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain

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