mer·​chant | \ ˈmər-chənt How to pronounce merchant (audio) \

Definition of merchant

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a buyer and seller of commodities for profit : trader
2 : the operator of a retail business : storekeeper
3 : one that is noted for a particular quality or activity : specialist a speed merchant on the base paths



Definition of merchant (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, used in, or engaged in commerce The city's reputation, though, is as a merchant city in this nation historically known for its traders.— Peter Theroux
2 : of, relating to, or used in a merchant marine part of the merchant fleet One hundred years ago, a group of 11 senators blocked a bill that would have allowed U.S. merchant ships to arm themselves against German U-boats as World War I raged in Europe.— James Hohmann


merchanted; merchanting; merchants

Definition of merchant (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to deal or trade in

intransitive verb

archaic : to deal or trade as a merchant

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Examples of merchant in a Sentence

Noun Merchants traveled hundreds of miles to trade in the city. a family of wealthy merchants The town's merchants closed their shops during the parade. Prizes were given by local merchants.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The bonus categories for the third quarter of 2020 are and Whole Foods, meaning purchases made with your Chase Freedom card at either merchant from July 1 through September 30 can earn bonus cash back. Julian Kheel, CNN Underscored, "Last chance to activate the Chase Freedom credit card rotating bonus categories," 9 Sep. 2020 Back in October 2019, almost 15 years after it was founded, Shopify announced its one-millionth merchant. Inti Pacheco, WSJ, "Shopify, Suddenly Worth $117 Billion, Is One of the Biggest Pandemic Winners," 8 Sep. 2020 In 1820, Moses Austin was a bankrupt merchant trying to launch his own colony in what was then Spanish Texas. René A. Guzman,, "2020 has been terrible, so let’s turn back the clock to better ’20s in San Antonio," 3 Sep. 2020 Rocket's valuation of Home24, another home decor merchant, was seven times what Kinnevik thought the company was worth. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "The humbling of Europe’s most-hyped startup incubator: Rocket Internet," 1 Sep. 2020 While working as a merchant in Kentucky, the financial panic of 1819 forced him to rethink his future. Blake Pontchartrain,, "Blake Pontchartrain: John James Audubon's Louisiana bird paintings," 31 Aug. 2020 Answer some questions, get a quote, ship your phone, and receive a gift card from the merchant. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Your old cellphone may be worth more than you think. But you have to shop it around," 30 Aug. 2020 Sending products to Amazon warehouses, under a program called Fulfillment by Amazon, makes those items eligible for speedy Prime shipping, which can often be the difference in a third-party merchant making a sale. Washington Post, "Burning laptops and flooded homes: Courts hold Amazon liable for faulty products," 29 Aug. 2020 The merchant works with several distributors to access the rare and hard-to-find wines and would be willing to facilitate special orders of any kind or size. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "Drink wine at these McKinney spots to celebrate National Red Wine Day," 28 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective So basically merchant refineries should not be the ones that have to purchase these credits or blend the ethanol. Jacob Weisberg, Slate Magazine, "The Obscure EPA Rule That Brought Down a Trump Adviser," 23 Aug. 2017

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for merchant


Middle English marchant, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *mercatant-, mercatans, from present participle of mercatare to trade, frequentative of Latin mercari — more at market

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Time Traveler for merchant

Time Traveler

The first known use of merchant was in the 13th century

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Statistics for merchant

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Merchant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for merchant


How to pronounce merchant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of merchant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

somewhat old-fashioned : someone who buys and sells goods especially in large amounts
chiefly US or Scotland : the owner or manager of a store
informal : someone who is known for a particular quality, activity, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of merchant (Entry 2 of 2)

: used for or involved in trading goods


mer·​chant | \ ˈmər-chənt How to pronounce merchant (audio) \

Kids Definition of merchant

1 : a person who buys and sells goods especially on a large scale or with foreign countries


mer·​chant | \ ˈmər-chənt How to pronounce merchant (audio) \

Legal Definition of merchant

: a person who trades in goods especially of a certain kind and possesses expertise in the area of the goods and the practices of trading in them or who employs others with such expertise a warranty that the goods shall be merchantable is implied in a contract for their sale if the seller is a merchant with respect to goods of that kindUniform Commercial Code

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