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

The Pelicans beat Williamson's representatives to apply for a trademark by about five hours. Cindy Boren,, "The Ohio State University wants to trademark its favorite word: ‘The’," 15 Aug. 2019 Geometric details, which are another trademark of Wright's later work, can be found throughout the interior. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "Last home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Lykes House, listed with huge price drop," 15 Aug. 2019 But moments with heart — a trademark of both McNally and Howard — do occasionally peep through. Matthew J. Palm,, "‘The Full Monty’: Fun can be enough | Review," 5 Aug. 2019 Flores seeks to establish a new culture built on the type of discipline that remains a trademark at his previous stop in New England, where he was groomed by Bill Belichick. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "U.S. women's national soccer team coach Jill Ellis shares wisdom with Miami Dolphins," 4 Aug. 2019 Apparently Ion Maiden attempted to file for a trademark and received a cease and desist from Iron Maiden, then went ahead with the Ion Maiden title anyway. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Iron Maiden sues 3D Realms, Larian teases Baldur's Gate III," 31 May 2019 GM Authority discovered a trademark for Bolt EUV, which likely stands for Electric Utility Vehicle. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Will Be GM's Next Electric Car," 21 May 2019 News is reporting that the singer has filed for her own beauty trademark under her existing production company, July Moon Productions. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "ATTENTION: Selena Gomez is Launching Her Own Beauty Brand," 14 Aug. 2019 And perhaps the most remarkable thing is that no one is really surprised to see Trump doing this—disinformation and incitement are two of his trademarks. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Jeffrey Epstein and the Mysterious Deaths of the Rich and Ruined," 12 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 What if every college football school trademarked an appropriate conjunction, preposition, adverb, pronoun or interjection of three letters or shorter? Mike Finger,, "In college football, a trademark word for everyone," 15 Aug. 2019 The school has already trademarked the names of former coaches Woody Hayes and Urban Meyer. Scooby Axson,, "Ohio State Seeks Trademark On The Word 'The'," 14 Aug. 2019 However, Petersson insists Oatly won’t trademark its new Chinese character but will keep it open-source to help encourage dialogue around dairy alternatives. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "How Oatly Plans to Quench China’s Thirst for Milk," 23 July 2019 That image was trademarked with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. David Kindy, Smithsonian, "For 100 Years, KitchenAid Has Been the Stand-Up Brand of Stand Mixers," 8 Aug. 2019 Optimized for both indoor and outdoor running, the Edge 3 sneakers have Adidas’ trademarked bounce foam sole, which absorbs the shock of every heel strike and redirects that energy to your toes for take off. Braelyn Wood,, "Jennifer Lopez Is Wearing the Hell Out of These Sneakers—and They're Less Than $65 Right Now," 22 July 2019 The ad executive even trademarked the Happy Meal name, then later transferred it to McDonald’s for $1. Christopher Borrelli,, "Who created the McDonald’s Happy Meal? 40 years later, the answer is complicated.," 3 July 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

12 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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