trade·mark | \ ˈtrād-ˌmärk \

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

emblem, ensign, hallmark, logo, symbol, totem

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Examples of trademark in a Sentence


“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

In the opening five minutes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic started the scoring in his trademark style. Daniel O'boyle,, "Galaxy fail to preserve a lead for the second consecutive game, tying 2-2 with D.C. United," 5 July 2018 Such a service could allow the Hunt Valley broadcaster to better compete with cable channels such as Fox News, said the report, citing sources familiar with the project and a trademark application. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Sinclair Broadcast will reportedly launch a free streaming TV service this year," 11 July 2018 The match was marvelous, with stunning shots, tense games and, from Nadal, dozens of his trademark fist pumps and screams. Tom Perrotta, WSJ, "Kevin Anderson Upsets Roger Federer at Wimbledon," 11 July 2018 Donnelly’s campaign trademark is touring the state in his RV. USA TODAY, "'Pivot counties' will be key in fight for Senate control," 10 July 2018 Its run up to launch wasn't completely stealthy; funding rounds were made public, and thanks to a trademark filing, some details about the oven had had leaked in advance. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Brava Hopes to Heat Up the 'Smart Kitchen' With a $995 Oven," 10 July 2018 Her trademark line was use your common sense; what rings true, what rings false. NBC News, "Who is Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh?," 10 July 2018 Consider this something of a Bieber beauty retrospective — a tribute to his trademark fringe, those platinum days, and everything in-between., "You Won't Believe How Much Justin Bieber's Hair Has Changed," 10 July 2018 Known for her trademark silver hair and aquamarine eyes, the Countess Mona von Bismarck was born in Kentucky. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "'Must-see' museum exhibit is in Louisville — and it features 'royalty'," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her image became so synonymous with the brand, Gerber trademarked the drawing of Cook in 1931. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "Original Gerber Baby meets newest Gerber Baby," 6 June 2018 Bad news for all the other up-and-coming Meryl Streeps in Hollywood: The 68-year-old future star of Big Little Lies has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark her name, TMZ reports. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Meryl Streep Is Trademarking Her Name," 29 Jan. 2018 For Tam, the ability to trademark his band was about reclaiming a marginalized identity through reappropriation. Sonia K. Katyal,, "The sudden rush of vulgar trademarks," 23 June 2018 And jewelry company Le Vian trademarked a chocolate scent for its stores. Rachel Siegel,, "Hasbro trademarks Play-Doh scent," 24 May 2018 To my dismay no fewer than 90 new forms had been named, introduced, patented and/or trademarked — in just those six months! Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Gardeners can go from OK to superb with the help of these websites," 6 July 2018 The Jerusalem Post reported that the name change will have to be approved by the Israel Football Association and could be undone by trademark issues; Trump's name has been trademarked in Israel since 2008, according to the newspaper. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "F.C. Beitar Jerusalem soccer team wants to add 'Trump' to its name," 14 May 2018 Westwood has her own plaid trademarked in the official Scottish registry, as does Burberry—and high-drama runway shows. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Riccardo Tisci Brings Vivienne Westwood to Burberry for a Collaboration," 6 July 2018 Companies, often in China, copy an item, sometimes using the item’s trademarked logo in their advertising, and then sell it online for far cheaper than the original item. Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, "Amazon May Have a Counterfeit Problem," 20 Apr. 2018

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

16 Sep 2018

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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.

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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 \

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 \

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 \

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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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