traffic

noun, often attributive
traf·​fic | \ ˈtra-fik How to pronounce traffic (audio) \

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

Highway traffic is light, but a fallen tree blocked two lanes of southbound I-405 late in Tuesday’s morning commute, and standing water will cause cars to hydroplane. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Metro buses still on reduced snow schedules while slush brings new driving risks," 12 Feb. 2019 Prince Philip didn't suffer any injuries during last month's road traffic accident, but he was taken to hospital as a precaution. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Philip Will Surrender His Driving License Following Road Traffic Accident," 9 Feb. 2019 Though road traffic is the fifth leading cause of death in the world, a computer, not human error, causing the fatality seems somehow worse. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "The first self-driving car you use will most likely carry your groceries, not you," 30 Nov. 2018 With millions of people traveling long distances to visit family and friends, Thanksgiving traffic can be a complete nightmare. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Google’s Thanksgiving report can help you avoid traffic and crowds," 15 Nov. 2018 The court also determined increased tanker traffic was not adequately addressed in environmental reviews. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "12 Activists Blocked an Oil Tanker Transporting From the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada," 6 Sep. 2018 That would reduce deaths and injuries, safety advocates say, as traffic accidents historically are the second leading cause of line-of-duty deaths. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Fire departments fight a culture that saves — and costs — lives," 13 July 2018 Natural causes, medical issues, suicide, heat, drowning and traffic accidents typically account for the other deaths. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Illinois Man, 24, Dies from Fall at Grand Canyon Just Days Before Starting Career as a Nurse," 10 July 2018 The first video focuses on Sandra Bland, a black woman who was pulled over for a traffic violation on July 10, 2015, in Prairie View, Texas, near Houston. Ariel Parrella-aureli, Chicago Reader, "365 Ways to Kill an American offers a new perspective on police brutality," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Of foreign nationals, Mexico had the most frequently trafficked. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s speech exaggerates border peril," 6 Feb. 2019 In the meantime, a tiny economy trafficking in millions of dollars sprouts in the wake of him joining the market, with the livelihoods of hundreds directly affected by his choices and actions. Robert Klemko, SI.com, "The Business of Baker Mayfield," 12 Apr. 2018 Reportedly the preferred route for trafficking drugs to the U.S. from South America is now Honduras, causing crime there to soar. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "The Drug War and the Caravan," 11 Nov. 2018 Zumwalt was released, but later charged with trafficking drugs. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Meth lab found in Bates County garage, sheriff’s office says. Four arrested," 7 July 2018 The report recommends screening for those who are suspected to be trafficking victims so they can be referred to care and an investigation can proceed. Carol Morello, BostonGlobe.com, "In Human Trafficking Report, State Dept. Warns Against Separating Children From Parents," 28 June 2018 Officers had pulled a driver over who was suspected of trafficking drugs. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Police K-9 makes $10 million drug bust," 26 June 2018 The six short dramas were made by some of Tollywood’s biggest production houses as part of an initiative by an anti-trafficking charity and the U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad, Reuters reported. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Young Indian actresses lured to Chicago in high-end prostitution scheme, feds charge," 13 June 2018 One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the anti-trafficking charity, CAST. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Bosworth Is Taking on Sex Trafficking Via Film and Fashion," 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

12 Mar 2019

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 How to pronounce traffic (audio) \

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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