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 new Torlonia Museum stood almost directly across the street from a landmark of Renaissance Rome: the suburban villa of the great merchant banker Agostino Chigi, a pleasure palace filled with ancient statues and frescoes by Raphael. Ingrid D. Rowland, The New York Review of Books, "Light in the Palazzo," 27 Apr. 2021 Other examples include international fraudsters pretending to live in the U.S. by tampering an address on a utility bill in order to open a merchant account or account on crypto exchange. Igor Bosilkovski, Forbes, "Fraud Detection Company Inscribe Raises $10.5 Million In Series A," 26 Apr. 2021 Foot traffic at small and medium-sized in-store retailers, the core of Square’s merchant base, disappeared overnight and the company lost more than half of its market value over three weeks. Tom Deegan, Fortune, "Inside the Future 50: Why these companies thrived in the pandemic—and could grow even faster coming out of it," 22 Apr. 2021 Many of the hardest hit come from India’s merchant class, the shopkeepers, stall operators or other small entrepreneurs who often live off the books of a major company. New York Times, "Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty," 16 Apr. 2021 For instance, in Gujarat’s merchant town Surat, crematoriums have been working overtime. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, "“Too many dead bodies” are weighing heavy on India’s Covid-19 crematoriums," 15 Apr. 2021 The first, built in 1835 by Boston merchant Thomas Larkin, still stands in Monterey. Los Angeles Times, "Mission Revival, Craftsman, storybook — L.A.’s home styles explained," 13 Apr. 2021 The relationship, one of the bank’s longest-running card partnerships, includes private-label cards that can be used only at company stores and co-branded credit cards that cardholders can use at nearly any merchant. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, "Gap to Replace Longtime Credit-Card Issuer Synchrony With Barclays," 13 Apr. 2021 The Tiger, or Tyger, a merchant vessel from the Netherlands, crossed the Atlantic in 1613. John Mcphee, The New Yorker, "Tabula Rasa," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective OPay currently processes about 80% of bank transfers among mobile money operators in Nigeria and 20% of non-merchant point of sales transactions, Akpan said. Tope Alake,, "Opera’s OPay Eyes North Africa After Breaking-Even in Nigeria," 23 Dec. 2020 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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Merchant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for merchant



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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