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

Europe, Japan, Canada and other countries have similar complaints about China’s mercantile practices. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s China Trade Truce," 2 Dec. 2018 China’s leaders have long viewed their legal system, and the global trade architecture including the World Trade Organization, as tools to be used for political or mercantile ends—and ignored when necessary. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Trade Deals With China—Done the Chinese Way," 12 Dec. 2018 Trump’s bitter clashes with Canada and Europe over trade, as well as his solicitous courtship of North Korea’s brutal dictator, all reflect this mercantile perspective. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: It's U.S. states that will bear the brunt of Trump's tariffs," 14 June 2018 If calls continue, the landlord must appear before the commissioners, who decide whether the owner’s mercantile license should be revoked. Avalon R. Zoppo,, "Senior Week in Wildwood: A money-making machine that residents love to hate," 20 June 2018 These hints of private realms beckon most alluringly from the Tiber River-adjacent Regola neighborhood, known since the Renaissance as the center for mercantile activities from plate-making to leather-stitching. Chiara Barzini, New York Times, "The Secret Atelier Behind a Roman Boutique," 16 May 2018 The Hassayampa was built in 1927 by a consortium of leading citizens who thought their mineral-rich mountain town needed an elegant hotel to anchor its banking and mercantile efforts. Charles Fleming,, "Hiking and history are on display on a weekend escape to Prescott, Ariz.," 26 Apr. 2018 While Ree's been growing her blog into a lifestyle empire, which now includes a Food Network show, mercantile, line at Walmart, and the new Boarding House hotel, Hyacinth has been by her side through it all. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Ree Drummond and Her BFF Hyacinth Kane's Friendship Story Is So Sweet," 19 Apr. 2018 Like the victims of 9/11, the slaves of New York were actors in the great mercantile drama that daily animates the city. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "New York City Would Really Rather Not Talk About Its Slavery-Loving Past," 15 Apr. 2015

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mercantile

Statistics for mercantile

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mercantile

The first known use of mercantile was in 1638

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mercantile



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mercantile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mercantile

Spanish Central: Translation of mercantile

Nglish: Translation of mercantile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mercantile for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mercantile

What made you want to look up mercantile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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