noun mer·chant \ ˈmər-chənt \
Updated on: 1 Dec 2017

Definition of merchant

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

Examples of merchant in a Sentence

  1. Merchants traveled hundreds of miles to trade in the city.

  2. a family of wealthy merchants

  3. The town's merchants closed their shops during the parade.

  4. Prizes were given by local merchants.

Recent Examples of merchant from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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




Definition of merchant

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

First Known Use of merchant

15th century




Definition of merchant

intransitive verb
archaic : to deal or trade as a merchant
transitive verb
: to deal or trade in

First Known Use of merchant

14th century

MERCHANT Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of merchant for English Language Learners

  • : 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.

MERCHANT Defined for Kids


noun mer·chant \ ˈmər-chənt \

Definition of merchant for Students

1 : a person who buys and sells goods especially on a large scale or with foreign countries
2 : storekeeper 1

Law Dictionary


noun 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 kind
  • Uniform Commercial Code

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