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


“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

Warm woods contrast with white floors, and the steep 28-foot ceilings are a trademark of an A-frame. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Magazine-ready A-frame in Big Bear asks $475K," 2 July 2019 The trio of complexion products, which launches on July 26, stays true to McGrath's style and brand, providing a bonafide system that allows users to create that trademark glowing skin the makeup artist brings, season after season, to the runway. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Pat McGrath Is About to Launch the Ultimate Foundation System," 12 June 2019 Bella Hadid rocked the duo, adding her trademark '90s touch: hoop earrings, chunky boots, and a teeny shoulder bag. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "10 Instagram-Worthy Ways to Wear Boyfriend Jeans," 8 Jan. 2019 But a judge ruled Friday that a 2015 settlement agreement in a separate lawsuit over trademarks prohibited her from suing for the royalties. David Porter, The Seattle Times, "Court tosses DeLorean widow’s ‘Back to the Future’ lawsuit," 15 Oct. 2018 Among his assets are a Washington hotel frequented by foreign dignitaries and intellectual property including about 50 trademarks granted preliminary recognition by the Chinese government last year. Andrew M Harris,, "Trump, Democrats Clash in D.C. Court Over President's Empire," 7 June 2018 Yeti coolers also has a similar case pending with the ITC over copyright, trademark, and patent infringement of some of its drinkware. Ariella Gintzler, Outside Online, "Nite Ize Knocks Down Counterfeits in Court," 26 Apr. 2018 For such an electronic deluge, the music often found its tension mixing more organic elements – booming tribal percussion, a space-age marimba and, briefly, Jarre's old trademark, the laser harp. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Back to the future: Jean-Michel Jarre brings a feast of sound and light," 11 Apr. 2018 The purse is a perfect example of how trademark, which protects brand names and logos, and copyright, which protects designs, create value. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Every invention you use has one thing in common," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The trend set off an artistic chemical arms race in which artists exposed themselves to new and trademarked materials in pursuit of the perfect radiance. Trevor Fraser,, "Winter Park art museums have cure for summer doldrums," 2 July 2019 And for anyone who took particular offense to her trademarking the word? Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Kim Kardashian stands by Kimono line despite appropriation backlash: I 'have deep respect'," 27 June 2019 Concentration camps are, as McSweeny’s pointed out, not a term trademarked by Auschwitz (which was a death camp). Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Americans Can't Admit Concentration Camps Exist in the U.S. Because They're Shameless," 20 June 2019 In a curious aside, Magid notes that the foundation Zanco established to oversee the architect’s papers has trademarked Barragán’s name, minus the accent mark. Michael O'sullivan, Twin Cities, "A conceptual artist pops a brilliant (but ghoulish) question in ‘The Proposal’," 20 June 2019 The agency also has funded Mapp’s Ebola treatment, trademarked ZMapp. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mapp Biopharmaceutical gets up to $46.5 million for new viral disease drug," 11 June 2019 But Seaver, now 74, never trademarked the name, leaving the door open for Brady to swoop in and claim it all to himself. Chuck Schilken,, "Tom Brady says trademark was meant to stop folks from calling him ‘Tom Terrific’," 6 June 2019 As Fashionista points out, the model also registered to trademark her new name — Hailey Bieber — in October of 2018. Kaleigh Fasanella, Teen Vogue, "Hailey Bieber Filed to Trademark Bieber Beauty," 16 Apr. 2019 As Fashionista points out, the model also registered to trademark her new name — Hailey Bieber — back in October of 2018. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Hailey Bieber Just Filed for "Bieber Beauty” Trademark," 15 Apr. 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

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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



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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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