merchant

1 of 3

noun

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

merchant

2 of 3

adjective

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

merchant

3 of 3

verb

merchanted; merchanting; merchants

transitive verb

: to deal or trade in

intransitive verb

archaic : to deal or trade as a merchant

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Heeding the ship’s distress signals, a merchant vessel and a coalition warship assisted the crew members, who abandoned ship and were safely transported to a nearby port, Centcom added. Sammy Westfall, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2024 Last year, many merchants were forced to provide discounts to unload excess inventory due to shifts in consumer preferences post-pandemic. Indy Guha, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Over the next century and beyond, Britain and other colonial powers, joined by American and Indian merchants, amassed unimaginable wealth by getting the Chinese addicted to opium. Arun A.k., Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Historically liberal Hong Kong was the happy creation of an unjust imperial British war against the decrepit Chinese empire over the rights of opium merchants. Doug Bandow, National Review, 10 Feb. 2024 For years, China discouraged unregulated small merchants. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Feb. 2024 In other cases, vendors purchase aid from merchants and trade at markets for inflated costs. Sana Noor Haq, CNN, 30 Jan. 2024 Jarvis, who plays Blackthorne, looked through papers found on a 17th-century merchant vessel. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 Feb. 2024 Xu said during last November’s earnings call that there is more work to do in its Eastern European markets in particular to upgrade technology, acquire more customers and partner with more merchants. Natalie Lung, Bloomberg.com, 7 Feb. 2024
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, Bloomberg.com, 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, 23 Aug. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'merchant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near merchant

Cite this Entry

“Merchant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/merchant. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

merchant

1 of 2 noun
mer·​chant ˈmər-chənt How to pronounce merchant (audio)
1
: a buyer and seller of goods for profit
especially : one who carries on trade on a large scale or with foreign countries
2

merchant

2 of 2 adjective
1
: of, relating to, or used in trade
a merchant ship
2
: of or relating to a merchant marine
Etymology

Noun

Middle English marchant "merchant," from early French marcheant (same meaning), derived from Latin mercari "to trade," from merc-, merx "merchandise" — related to commerce, market

Legal Definition

merchant

noun
mer·​chant ˈmər-chənt How to pronounce merchant (audio)
: 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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