mer·​can·​tile | \ ˈmər-kən-ˌtēl How to pronounce mercantile (audio) , -ˌtī(-ə)l \

Definition of mercantile

1 : of or relating to merchants or trading mercantile families mercantile businesses
2 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of mercantilism mercantile system

Examples of mercantile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That structure was built as a mercantile store in the 1820s, according to the city. Rebekah Riess, Amanda Watts And Leah Asmelash, CNN, "A bronze slave auction plaque has gone missing from Charlottesville's Court Square," 6 Feb. 2020 To Virginians, this treaty would have sacrificed the national interest in favor of the mercantile interests of New England and the Atlantic states. John Yoo, National Review, "What the Founders Told Us about ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’," 24 Jan. 2020 About a century later, Liberia hailed Firestone as a financial boon after technological advances overseas had smashed the fledgling state’s mercantile business and predatory European loans kept it in debt. Washington Post, "Firestone tires built Liberia’s economy. Now, painful layoffs are sowing fear for the future.," 5 Nov. 2019 This is how the boys talk—with the same energy as fans, but with a mercantile mind-set and the language of sneakerheads. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "On Discord With the Boys Scalping Harry Styles Tickets," 26 Nov. 2019 The signing took place just a few miles from the port of Piraeus, which abuts the Greek capital and is the major symbol of China’s mercantile ambitions in the West. Christopher R. O'dea, National Review, "Mike Pompeo’s View of China," 7 Nov. 2019 Contemporary scholars are not the first to notice that key financial technologies were developed in the course of colonial expropriation during the brutal passage from mercantile to industrial capitalism. Will Meyer, Longreads, "Fire Sale: Finance and Fascism in the Amazon Rainforest," 4 Oct. 2019 The puritanical persecution of witches — Salem’s claim to fame — are a slim iota of wrongdoing next to the global pillaging of the Western mercantile class throughout America’s early years., "At expanded Peabody Essex Museum, a new director strives to put people over things - The Boston Globe," 27 Sep. 2019 The 1906-era mercantile building was transported by barge from the seaside village of Oyster in 2015, and now overlooks the Cape Charles Yacht Center. Erica Jackson Curran,, "On the Eastern Shore, Virginia’s Cape Charles is in the midst of a small-town renaissance," 20 Aug. 2019

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

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mercantile

French, from Italian, from mercante merchant, from Latin mercant-, mercans, from present participle of mercari to trade — more at market

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Time Traveler for mercantile

Time Traveler

The first known use of mercantile was in 1638

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Statistics for mercantile

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mercantile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce mercantile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mercantile

formal : of or relating to the business of buying and selling products to earn money : of or relating to trade or merchants


mer·​can·​tile | \ ˈmər-kən-ˌtēl How to pronounce mercantile (audio) , -ˌtīl \

Kids Definition of mercantile

: of or relating to merchants or trade a rich mercantile family

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Spanish Central: Translation of mercantile

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Britannica English: Translation of mercantile for Arabic Speakers

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