mer·​can·​tile ˈmər-kən-ˌtēl How to pronounce mercantile (audio)
: of or relating to merchants or trading
mercantile families
mercantile businesses
: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of mercantilism
mercantile system

Examples of mercantile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Several excellent chapters cover the growth of British economic interests in the area during the nineteenth century, notably through the efforts of the mercantile National African Company. Max Siollun, Foreign Affairs, 16 Feb. 2021 Art & commerce Designers this season appeared to sit in two camps: Those who adopted a more mercantile mindset — perhaps in response to concerns around another recession — and those who seemingly through caution to the wind and chose art over commerce. Fiona Sinclair Scott, CNN, 22 Feb. 2023 The community, which had been famous for its mercantile abundance, was now marked by deprivation. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 27 Jan. 2023 The century after 1485, when Henry VII took the crown from Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, would see England break away from the church in Rome and grow into a mercantile powerhouse. Jason Farago, New York Times, 9 Oct. 2022 Four years later, residents from a neighboring community, known then as Willow Dell, began integrating into Senoia and the first buildings (a mercantile factory and a Methodist Episcopal church led by Baggarly), were erected in Senoia. Declan Gallagher,, 17 Nov. 2022 That Shop, at 138 Main St. in Somers, back in January, and have created a space that has a little of everything, akin to a mercantile or general store. Steve Smith, Hartford Courant, 13 July 2022 Clarence Clifton Brown hauled his candy-making equipment here from Ohio, and in 1906 opened a chocolate shop at the mercantile crossroads of 7th and Hill streets downtown. Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2022 The mercantile store and rail depot shuttered with the onset of the Great Depression. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 11 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mercantile was in 1638

Dictionary Entries Near mercantile

Cite this Entry

“Mercantile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


mer·​can·​tile ˈmər-kən-ˌtēl How to pronounce mercantile (audio)
: of or relating to merchants, trade, or commerce
mercantile businesses

More from Merriam-Webster on mercantile

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