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 In 1974: Nike registered the Swoosh, designed by Carolyn Davidson, as a trademark. oregonlive, "$40 million bill would declare ‘homelessness state of emergency’ in Oregon: Morning Briefing for Wednesday, Jan. 22," 22 Jan. 2020 The color is so much a part of Tiffany’s identity that the company has a trademark on it. James Barron, New York Times, "How Tiffany Moved 114,000 Gems Without Getting Robbed," 13 Jan. 2020 Marcus deftly shows that disregard for the truth in service of partisan gain is not just a Trump trademark. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 6 Jan. 2020 Blue Bottle Coffee helped make single-pour cups of coffee a trademark of cafes across the country. Janelle Bitker,, "Blue Bottle Coffee pledges to go zero waste by end of 2020," 9 Dec. 2019 In 2006 and 2009, a prolific inventor named Stephen Yencho tried to file a trademark on the name, each time involving solar cells. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Bill Gates's Secret Solar Startup Has Generated Extreme Heat with Mirrors," 19 Nov. 2019 India already has unofficial geographical indicator trademarks for ganja and charas. Devangshu Datta, Quartz India, "Legalising cannabis could be one solution to India’s agrarian distress," 30 May 2019 Indianapolis 500 was its trademark, the letter said. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "This is Larry Bird's lawyer and he is an absolute character," 1 Feb. 2020 With his trademark right-handed swing that often poked balls to right field rather than pulling them to left, Jeter posted a .310 career batting average and amassed 3,465 career hits, the sixth-most in baseball history. James Wagner, New York Times, "Derek Jeter and Larry Walker Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The waist-high overalls were soon being sported by miners, teamsters, lumberjacks, and farmers with thousands of San Franciscans wearing Levi’s (trademarked in 1966) by the end of 1873. Drake Wilson, Sunset Magazine, "New Levi’s Exhibit to Showcase Albert Einstein’s Iconic Leather Jacket," 12 Feb. 2020 Tesla has trademarked the name Cyberquad for use on ATVs. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Elon Musk reveals when Tesla's electric ATV will go on sale," 9 Dec. 2019 In the past, the school trademarked the names of former Buckeyes football coaches Urban Meyer and Woody Hayes. Reuters, The Mercury News, "Ohio State trying to trademark the word ‘The’," 14 Aug. 2019 In Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi has actually trademarked itself as the official hometown of Santa Claus and sits right at the Arctic Circle, making it a prime location for seeing the Aurora Borealis that lights up the Frozen sky. Terry Ward, Condé Nast Traveler, "A ‘Frozen’-Inspired Family Vacation With Reindeer, Saunas, and Northern Lights," 22 Nov. 2019 Some of the team’s own fans were upset by the attempt to trademark their hometown’s name. Hasit Shah, Quartz, "Liverpool Football Club fails to trademark the name of its home city," 26 Sep. 2019 Barack and Michelle Obama wanted to trademark their company’s name, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office had deemed it too similar to the mark Ms. Massey registered in 2017 for her computer training company. Nancy Coleman, New York Times, "The Obamas Want ‘Higher Ground.’ Someone Got There First.," 11 Sep. 2019 Many different variations of the burkini—a word trademarked by the Lebanese-Australian fashion designer Aheda Zanetti—are available for sale in a number of Muslim countries and online. Christina Binkley, The New Yorker, "Nike Takes the Plunge Into Modest Swimwear," 9 Dec. 2019 The resulting product, the Cronut™, duly trademarked by Ansel, led to lines 100-deep outside his bakery. Michael Russell, oregonlive, "Twisted Croissant brings new wonders of the pastry world to Portland," 13 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for trademark

Time Traveler

The first known use of trademark was in 1839

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Statistics for trademark

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Trademark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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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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