mercantilism

noun
mer·​can·​til·​ism | \ ˈmər-kən-ˌtē-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce mercantilism (audio) , -ˌtī-, -tə- \

Definition of mercantilism

1 : the theory or practice of mercantile pursuits : commercialism
2 : an economic system developing during the decay of feudalism to unify and increase the power and especially the monetary wealth of a nation by a strict governmental regulation of the entire national economy usually through policies designed to secure an accumulation of bullion (see bullion sense 1), a favorable balance of trade, the development of agriculture and manufactures, and the establishment of foreign trading monopolies (see monopoly sense 1)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mercantilism

mercantilist \ ˈmər-​kən-​ˌtē-​list How to pronounce mercantilist (audio) , -​ˌtī-​ , -​tə-​ \ noun or adjective
mercantilistic \ ˌmər-​kən-​ˌtē-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce mercantilistic (audio) , -​ˌtī-​ , -​tə-​ \ adjective

Examples of mercantilism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web More ominously, China’s mercantilism is part of a larger Xi Jinping strategy to establish a new military and commercial hegemony in Asia. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Missing China Trade Strategy," 18 Sep. 2018 This dichotomy suggests that citizens of Western democracies face a choice between a globalist economic and political order—of which stakeholder advocacy is a part—and a retreat into mercantilism, nativism and cultural stasis. Richard J. Shinder, WSJ, "The Davos Crowd Embraces Big Global Government," 26 Jan. 2020 The economic priorities branch out into two further categories: (1) reducing distortions to the global economy caused by Chinese mercantilism or (2) reducing the bilateral trade deficit. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Phase One of the China Trade Agreement in Context," 23 Jan. 2020 In negotiations aimed at least in part at curtailing Chinese mercantilism, American representatives requested that China direct bilateral trade from on high. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Phase One of the China Trade Agreement in Context," 23 Jan. 2020 While trade theorists exhorted the US and its partners to practice free trade, China was cleaning America’s clock with an unapologetic strategy of mercantilism. Rober Kuttner, Time, "Trump Will Fail on China Trade War, but Progressive Democrats Must Carry On the Fight," 30 Sep. 2019 Certainly, Trump’s agenda of closing the border, using tariffs to overturn a half-century of Chinese mercantilism, and pulling back from optional overseas military interventions variously offends both Democrats and establishment Republicans. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Trump’s fighting — and winning — a culture war on all fronts," 19 Sep. 2019 But no serious critic has offered any other strategy to counter four decades of systematic Chinese mercantilism and economic exploitation. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Trump — or What, Exactly?," 27 Aug. 2019 Initially this was a refutation of the idea of mercantilism that had dominated European policy in the 1600s and 1700s. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: ‘Inflation is solved’? Don’t bank on it," 28 July 2019

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

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mercantilism

Time Traveler for mercantilism

Time Traveler

The first known use of mercantilism was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Statistics for mercantilism

Cite this Entry

“Mercantilism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mercantilism. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on mercantilism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mercantilism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mercantilism

Comments on mercantilism

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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