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

As Business Insider notes, this is an example of Amazon creating its own version of a best seller from a third-party merchant on its website—something Senator Elizabeth Warren and others have criticized. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Amazon debuts new Casper-style mattress in a box," 1 Oct. 2018 In northern Brazil, locals attacked Venezuelan migrants after a Venezuelan man robbed a merchant. Manuel Rueda, Fox News, "OAS boss slams 'dictator' Maduro in trip to Venezuela border," 14 Sep. 2018 The Miniaturist, a three-part series commissioned by the BBC about a (real) Dutch girl married off to a wealthy merchant, her (real) dollhouse, and some (fictionalized) voodoo elements. Matteo Montanari, Allure, "How Anya Taylor-Joy Translated a Childhood Fascination With Makeup Into a Successful Acting Career," 28 Aug. 2018 Built in 1784, the home was originally occupied by a prominent Salem merchant dealing in rum and Sumatran pepper. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Boston," 9 Aug. 2018 One of them stopped in front of Frank Jiménez, 41, a merchant waiting for a ride at a Maracaibo downtown bus stop. Gustavo Ocando Alex, miamiherald, "With little public transportation, Venezuelans resort to dangerous, illegal ‘kennels’ to get around," 12 July 2018 Born in 1718, Agnesi was the oldest child of Pietro Agnesi, a wealthy Milanese silk merchant. Evelyn Lamb, Smithsonian, "The 18th-Century Lady Mathematician Who Loved Calculus and God," 16 May 2018 In 1824, a Scottish merchant cruising down the Mekong River came upon an astounding sight: two teenage boys — with two heads and four arms — swimming in tandem. Vanessa Hua, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Inseparable,’ by Yunte Huang," 10 May 2018 Someone was arrested for felony retail theft and resisting a merchant., "Delray Beach area crime log: April 15-29," 8 May 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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Statistics for merchant

Last Updated

7 Dec 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

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a nest or breeding place

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