traffic

noun, often attributive
traf·​fic | \ˈtra-fik \

Definition of traffic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : the vehicles, pedestrians, ships, or planes moving along a route

(2) : congestion of vehicles stuck in traffic

(3) : the movement (as of vehicles or pedestrians) through an area or along a route

b : the information or signals transmitted over a communications system : messages

2 : the volume of customers visiting a business establishment restaurant traffic

3a : the passengers or cargo carried by a transportation system

b : the business of transporting passengers or freight

4a : import and export trade

b : the business of bartering or buying and selling

c : illegal or disreputable usually commercial activity the drug traffic

5a : communication or dealings especially between individuals or groups

b : exchange a lively traffic in ideas— F. L. Allen

6 : a concentration of participants or players and especially defensive players force difficult shots in traffic

7 archaic : wares, goods

the traffic will bear

: existing conditions will allow or permit charge what the traffic will bear

traffic

verb
trafficked; trafficking

Definition of traffic (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to carry on traffic

2 : to concentrate one's effort or interest broadly : engage, deal a writer who often traffics in hyperbole

transitive verb

1a : to travel over heavily trafficked highways

b : to visit as a customer a highly trafficked bookstore

2 : trade, barter

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Other Words from traffic

Verb

trafficker noun

Synonyms for traffic

Synonyms: Noun

business, commerce, marketplace, trade

Synonyms: Verb

deal, trade

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Choose the Right Synonym for traffic

Noun

business, commerce, trade, industry, traffic mean activity concerned with the supplying and distribution of commodities. business may be an inclusive term but specifically designates the activities of those engaged in the purchase or sale of commodities or in related financial transactions. commerce and trade imply the exchange and transportation of commodities. industry applies to the producing of commodities, especially by manufacturing or processing, usually on a large scale. traffic applies to the operation and functioning of public carriers of goods and persons.

Examples of traffic in a Sentence

Noun

Let's leave early to avoid rush hour traffic. Traffic is backed up to the bridge. Barge traffic was halted because of flooding. Airlines saw a decrease in passenger traffic this year.

Verb

arrested him for trafficking in drugs
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The reasons aren’t a fear of more traffic or mushrooming housing prices, but socio-cultural. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "In America’s ‘geography of despair,’ how to help the left-behind places?," 21 Nov. 2018 But bad traffic and decrepit facilities haven’t kept the crowds away. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "New York's Airports Are Getting Billion-Dollar Makeovers—But What Will They Actually Change?," 21 Nov. 2018 With everyone around you trying to get to their holiday destinations, that means some serious crowds, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and delays that zero people are psyched about. Korin Miller, SELF, "10 Simple But Crucial Ways to Deal With Holiday Travel Stress," 20 Nov. 2018 There’s no logging of your online traffic, DNS requests, connections, timestamps, IP addresses, bandwidth, nothing. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Mullvad 2018 review: A fantastic VPN has a great new look," 17 Oct. 2018 Police cars blocked several streets from traffic while authorities searched the area. Hannah Leone, chicagotribune.com, "Man in custody after exchanging gunfire with police in South Chicago," 14 July 2018 Westbound traffic: Take the Interstate 45 northbound connector. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Interstate 10, Loop 610, Gulf Freeway closures mean travel could be difficult starting July 13," 13 July 2018 Detour signs will re-route traffic to the Southwest Seventh Avenue drawbridge. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Andrews Avenue drawbridge overhaul to last until 2020," 13 July 2018 As The New Yorker wrote: A human driver could easily have handled the situation by slowing down and letting the Camry merge into traffic, but Google’s software wasn’t prepared for this scenario. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Report: Former top Waymo engineer altered code to go on “forbidden routes”," 17 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

She was also charged with credit card theft and illegally trafficking in personal identifying information. David Owens, courant.com, "Hartford Women Charged With Stealing Identities, Money Of Elderly Home Healthcare Patients," 5 June 2018 Sittenfeld is at her best where gender meets class, trafficking in the minor humiliations of fictional women who often self-sabotage, or at least overthink. Elizabeth Toohey, The Christian Science Monitor, "'You Think It, I’ll Say It' shows Curtis Sittenfeld at her best, where gender meets class," 24 Apr. 2018 Throughout history, Zanzibar was a major port, trafficking in spices, ivory, textiles and — until abolition in 1876 — slaves. Mary Winston Nicklin, USA TODAY, "Tour the Darajani Market in Zanzibar, Tanzania," 13 Mar. 2018 In a similar analysis of Guatemala, the nonprofit investigative group InSight Crime could connect cartels to only 28% of the country’s murders in the major drug-trafficking corridor. Rachel Kleinfeld, WSJ, "The Violence Driving Migration Isn’t Just Gangs," 9 Nov. 2018 The 27-year-old man also has warrants for his arrest stemming from a drug-trafficking charge in Garfield Heights. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "State troopers fire shots at two men who tried to ram cruiser in Cleveland," 2 May 2018 Your odds of seeing wild animals — ranging from arctic ground squirrels, marmots and Dall sheep to bears and moose — are good, considering the trail isn't as trafficked as others in the Chugach. Bailey Berg, Anchorage Daily News, "Make the most of your trip with these hikes near Anchorage," 2 May 2018 He was widely derided by the pharmaceutical industry as an outlier, although many other companies have regularly trafficked in such maneuvers. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Martin Shkreli was hardly an outlier when it came to jacking up prices on older drugs," 2 May 2018 Larissa Rodriguez last week pleaded guilty to trafficking in food stamps, telecommunications fraud, grand theft and money laundering. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Cleveland mom accused of killing, burying 5-year-old in backyard gives birth to 10th child," 2 May 2018

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

Noun

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

Verb

1540, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for traffic

Noun

Middle French trafique, from Old Italian traffico, from trafficare to trade in coastal waters

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Statistics for traffic

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for traffic

The first known use of traffic was in 1540

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More Definitions for traffic

traffic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of traffic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: all the vehicles driving along a certain road or in a certain area

: the movement of airplanes, ships, etc., along routes

: the amount of people who pass through a certain place or travel in a certain way

traffic

verb

English Language Learners Definition of traffic (Entry 2 of 2)

: to buy or sell something especially illegally

traffic

noun
traf·​fic | \ˈtra-fik \

Kids Definition of traffic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the movement (as of vehicles or pedestrians) along a route

2 : the people or goods carried by train, boat, or airplane or passing along a road, river, or air route

3 : the business of carrying passengers or goods the tourist traffic

4 : the business of buying and selling : commerce

5 : exchange of information They had no traffic with the enemy.

traffic

verb
trafficked; trafficking

Kids Definition of traffic (Entry 2 of 2)

traffic

noun, often attributive
traf·​fic

Legal Definition of traffic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : import and export trade

b : the business of bartering or buying and selling

c : illegal or disreputable usually commercial activity the drug traffic

2a : the movement (as of vehicles or pedestrians) through an area or along a route

b : the vehicles, pedestrians, ships, or planes moving along a route

c : the information or signals transmitted over a communications system

3a : the passengers or cargo carried by a transportation system

b : the business of transporting passengers or freight

traffic

verb
trafficked; trafficking

Legal Definition of traffic (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to carry on traffic

transitive verb

1 : to travel over

2 : to engage in the trading or bartering of

Other Words from traffic

trafficker noun

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Comments on traffic

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