mer·chant | \ˈmər-chənt \

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)

intransitive verb

archaic : to deal or trade as a merchant

transitive verb

: to deal or trade in

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Examples of merchant in a Sentence


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

Perhaps the biggest boost came to a newly public company called Avalara Inc. that makes a type of tax-compliance software many smaller merchants may now need. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "Supreme Court Rules States Can Collect Sales Tax on Web Purchases," 22 June 2018 Many third-party merchants who use the service to sell their own goods on Amazon's sites still do not charge sales tax. Michael D. Shear, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, after denouncing Amazon’s shipping deal, orders review of Postal Service," 13 Apr. 2018 Many third-party merchants who use the service to sell their own goods on Amazon’s sites still do not charge sales tax. Michael D. Shear, New York Times, "Trump, Having Denounced Amazon’s Shipping Deal, Orders Review of Postal Service," 12 Apr. 2018 Questions about whether or not the platform addresses issues that have barred many other merchants and consumers from accepting cryptocurrency still exist. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Meet ‘Paypal for Crypto,’ a New Way to Pay With Bitcoin and Litecoin," 15 Feb. 2018 The House of Representatives is expected to vote as soon as Tuesday on a much broader economic development bill that would provide up to $500,000 a year in tax credits to merchants who occupy vacant storefronts in downtown areas. Jon Chesto,, "Lawmakers hope tax credits can help fill vacant storefronts," 9 July 2018 Scarbrough also has invited Tijuana bookstores and Barrio Logan merchants to participate. Vryan Feliciano,, "Vryan's Report: U-T to host second annual San Diego Festival of Books," 5 July 2018 Built in 1880 for lumber merchant Albert S. Bacon, the 5,091-square-foot residence has since been carefully restored. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "This Savannah mansion comes with multiple apartments, wants $1.6M," 19 June 2018 The move follows a series of U.K. retail failures as bricks-and-mortar merchants contend with the threat of Inc. Thomas Buckley,, "Debenhams Plunges as It Cuts Profit Forecast Amid Discounts," 19 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to merchant

doom merchant

merchant seaman

speed merchant

Statistics for merchant

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for merchant

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

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More Definitions for merchant



English Language Learners Definition of merchant

: someone who buys and sells goods especially in large amounts

: the owner or manager of a store

: someone who is known for a particular quality, activity, etc.


mer·chant | \ˈmər-chənt \

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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on merchant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for merchant

Spanish Central: Translation of merchant

Nglish: Translation of merchant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of merchant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on merchant

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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