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 Old Town Association is a non-profit merchant association comprised of business owners and community members in the Old Town Cottonwood area in Cottonwood, according to its website. Peiyu Lin, The Arizona Republic, "Ex-treasurer suspected of defrauding Cottonwood business group in 2018 found in Michigan," 8 Apr. 2021 Hans Küng was born in Sursee, Switzerland, on March 19, 1928, and named after his father, a prosperous shoe merchant. New York Times, "Hans Küng, Catholic Theologian With a Powerful Critique, Dies at 93," 6 Apr. 2021 Here’s how Will Hudson, senior merchant of outdoor power equipment for The Home Depot, explained the differences between the three. Ambar Pardilla, NBC News, "The best string trimmers of 2021, according to experts," 5 Apr. 2021 Meanwhile, some merchant cash advance companies that Alamo Strategic had turned to for funding began automatically withdrawing $60,000 to $70,000 a week from its bank account. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio defense contractor blames COVID-19, February freeze for bankruptcy," 5 Apr. 2021 The subsidiary operates in 13 countries in Africa, offering mobile wallet deposit and withdrawals, merchant and commercial payments, loans and savings, virtual credit cards, and international money transfers. Jackie Bischof, Quartz, "Why Mastercard just made a $100 million bet on Africa’s mobile money market," 2 Apr. 2021 Again, the merchant receives fiat currency and doesn’t know that the debit card swiped is funded by crypto. Telis Demos, WSJ, "Payments Companies Are Playing Hide-the-Crypto," 31 Mar. 2021 The move would streamline the permitting process for businesses that fall outside of the traditional restaurants and retailers allowed in the merchant district. Genevieve Bookwalter,, "Evanston looks to ease restrictions on new downtown businesses as vacancy rate climbs," 30 Mar. 2021 Then the Chinese Exclusion Act passed in 1882, and all Chinese citizens seeking to emigrate were banned from entry into the U.S.—except those who qualified for merchant visas, such as potential Chinese restaurant owners and kitchen staff. Jenny Liao, Bon Appétit, "My Secret Affair With Chinese Takeout," 30 Mar. 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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Learn More about merchant

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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Merchant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 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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Comments on merchant

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