trade·​mark | \ ˈtrād-ˌmärk How to pronounce trademark (audio) \

Definition of trademark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device (such as a word) pointing distinctly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and legally reserved to the exclusive use of the owner as maker or seller
2 : a distinguishing characteristic or feature firmly associated with a person or thing wearing his trademark bow tie and derby hat


trademarked; trademarking; trademarks

Definition of trademark (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to secure trademark rights for : register the trademark of

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Synonyms for trademark

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of trademark in a Sentence

Noun “Kleenex” is a registered trademark. Outspokenness has always been his trademark. Courtesy is the company's trademark.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Along with Kayersberg and Strasbourg, this provincial town is a trademark of the beautiful and charming Alsace region, located in northeastern France near Germany and Switzerland. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Most Beautiful Places in France," 5 Nov. 2019 And the band is continuing to earn praise for performances on the tour supporting the new album, not just for the music itself, but for the visuals that long have been a trademark of the group. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "Art rock band Tool draws raves for ‘Fear Inoculum’ album and tour, to play Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse," 30 Oct. 2019 Songs are, of course, a trademark of Parker and Stone. Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Team America: World Police': THR's 2004 Review," 15 Oct. 2019 The artist has said that natural elements are a trademark of her work, and her lifetime of real-world observation shows. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "Is climate change art? 5 must-see pieces at the new AVAM exhibit," 14 Oct. 2019 That outlook is often a trademark of the most ferocious competitors and best players., "Some context for Mookie Betts’s thoughts on legacy, contracts - The Boston Globe," 22 Sep. 2019 These anxious hints are a trademark of the movie’s director, Joseph Losey, who lived from 1909 to 1984. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Hour of Reckoning Descends in “Mr. Klein”," 30 Aug. 2019 Velcro Velcro created a funny video that claims its brand trademark is in jeopardy because people keep using the word Velcro as a generic term for all types of hook-and-loop fasteners. Mary Kilpatrick,, "What is content marketing? Here are five great examples," 27 Aug. 2019 First, his trademark super-low energy does not help. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Searching for a glimmer of hope as gun violence soars (8/24/19)," 25 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Businesses included Backcountry Denim, Backcountry Nitro coffee, and even the company Constellation Outdoor Education, which trademarked the name Backcountry Babes for clinics offering women-focused avalanche education courses. Frederick Reimers, Outside Online, "Why Thousands of People Are Mad at Backcountry," 6 Nov. 2019 In that matter, the University of Alabama argued (in part) that artist Daniel A. Moore needed permission to continue producing his beloved paintings of Alabama football action, because the uniforms depicted in the paintings were trademarked. al, "Flora-Bama vs. ‘Floribama Shore:’ Empire strikes back?," 14 Oct. 2019 Some of the photographs—like a surreal one of 11 cats all sitting peacefully and obediently looking in the same direction—bring to mind the baroque set pieces trademarked by Annie Leibovitz. Leo Mirani, Quartz, "You can thank this mid-century cat photographer for your favorite cat memes," 28 Sep. 2019 Haus Beauty⁠—for the longest time, and filed to trademark the name in February 2018. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga's Haus Beauty Promo Images Just Leaked and Fans Are Obsessed," 9 July 2019 The game didn’t get picked up, but the name stuck with Martin (who trademarked it). Ben Crandell,, "New Fort Lauderdale brewery Orchestrated Minds makes formal debut on Friday," 4 Sep. 2019 INFO SESSION Guard your business Learn how to use copyrights and trademarking to protect your idea or service at this lecture from CWE Eastern MA. Max Jungreis,, "Business agenda," 30 July 2019 With the support of nonprofit organizations and lawyers that specialize in IP, the Maasai have been fighting to trademark their designs, but the bar for copyright protection varies by jurisdiction and is extremely high, as well as amorphous. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "Governments are taking cultural appropriation to court," 28 Aug. 2019 Probably not, which is why the school wants to trademark the word... Catherine Kim, Vox, "Vox Sentences: One step closer to an Ebola cure," 15 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trademark.' 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 trademark


1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1881, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for trademark

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for trademark

The first known use of trademark was in 1839

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More Definitions for trademark



Financial Definition of trademark

What It Is

A trademark is any legally-protected abstract or figural representation or slogan associated with a company or product that deliberately differentiates it in the market.

How It Works

A trademark is a marketing device that visually sets a company or product apart from similar items trying to gain market share. Trademarks are forms of intellectual property that are unique to a company and or its products. Slogans, symbols, or inventive catchphrases are common examples of trademarks. Companies legally register their trademarks with the appropriate authorities in order to prevent competing companies from copying (called infringing upon) their trademark or trademarks (explicitly designated by the superscripted "TM"). Infringing on a registered trademark is illegal and may be used as justification for legal action by the company which legal rights to that trademark.

To illustrate, suppose company XYZ produces a cleaning solution for eye glasses called CrystalensTM (a clever contraction of the words "crystal" and "lens") for which they have a valid registered trademark. Should another company infringe upon this trademark by copying the name Crystalens verbatim or in part, then company XYZ is justified in suing the infringing party.

Why It Matters

In addition to differentiating companies and products in a given market, the use of trademarks is a marketing strategy that encourages recognition and association of some level of quality among consumers. Registered trademarks ensure fair, competitive practices in the market while protecting the owner of the intellectual property rights.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce trademark (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of trademark

: something (such as a word) that identifies a particular company's product and cannot be used by another company without permission
: a quality or way of behaving, speaking, etc., that is very typical of a particular person, group, or organization


trade·​mark | \ ˈtrād-ˌmärk How to pronounce trademark (audio) \

Kids Definition of trademark

: a device (as a word) that points clearly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and that is legally reserved for use only by the owner

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trade·​mark | \ ˈtrād-ˌmärk How to pronounce trademark (audio) \

Medical Definition of trademark

: a device (as a word or mark) that points distinctly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and that is legally reserved for the exclusive use of the owner — compare service mark


trade·​mark | \ ˈtrād-ˌmärk How to pronounce trademark (audio) \

Legal Definition of trademark

: a mark that is used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify the origin or ownership of goods and to distinguish them from others and the use of which is protected by law — see also dilution, infringement, strong mark, weak mark, Trademark Act of 1946 — compare copyright, patent, service mark

Note: The Patent and Trademark Office registers trademarks and service marks that are used in interstate commerce or in intrastate commerce that affects interstate commerce. There are also state registration statutes for marks used in intrastate commerce. A trademark or service mark need not be registered for an owner to enforce his or her rights in court. The common law recognizes ownership of a trademark, established by actual and first use of the mark, but it extends only to the areas or markets where the mark is used. Federal registration of a trademark gives rise to a federal cause of action for infringement in addition to the common-law claim. Registration also serves as evidence of the owner's exclusive right to the continuous use and validity of the mark, and as constructive notice to the world of the claim to the mark. To be a valid trademark at common law and for federal registration, a mark must be distinctive; a descriptive mark may become distinctive by acquiring secondary meaning.

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Comments on trademark

What made you want to look up trademark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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