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 Rather than promote a liberal vision—or any vision—the Chinese are remorselessly mercantile and imperial in their approach. Robert D. Kaplan, WSJ, "Beijing Fills the Mideast Vacuum," 20 Jan. 2021 Even so, the mercantile tone of these communications caught me off guard. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "A Coveted Moose Tag Reveals the Complicated Reality of Western Big-Game Hunting," 21 Sep. 2020 Chappel DeVall had a mercantile operation with a warehouse and home on the river by 1849. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, "Along the lower White," 18 Oct. 2020 During the 1850s, Camden served as the supply center for several counties and was the mercantile center for a radius of 100 miles. Rex Nelson, Arkansas Online, "River towns," 20 Sep. 2020 The mercantile concept will come at an advantageous time for Lake County, Shannon said. Esther Mobley,, "Lake County's Steele Wines is purchased by Shannon Ridge winery in major deal," 18 Aug. 2020 The Bellmawr council in Camden County voted 5 to 1 to rescind the mercantile license of Atilis Gym following an hour-long hearing that featured arguments from lawyers on both sides, according to Fox News, "NJ gym that defied coronavirus restrictions gets license rescinded: report," 12 Aug. 2020 In the late middle ages, the agrarian and mercantile peasants of the European suburbium were mostly seen as underclasses to the urban gentry. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Revenge of the Suburbs," 19 June 2020 It was rebuilt and continued as a mercantile store until around 1919. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "MHW renovates historic downtown Conroe building," 5 June 2020

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

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The first known use of mercantile was in 1638

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Cite this Entry

“Mercantile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on mercantile

Nglish: Translation of mercantile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mercantile for Arabic Speakers

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