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

Trillanes and opposition groups have dismissed the claim as a lie and asked him to focus instead on addressing poverty, inflation, rice shortages, traffic jams and a decline in the value of the peso currency. Jim Gomez, Fox News, "Philippine president's fiercest critic arrested, posts bail," 25 Sep. 2018 Most pedestrians are very traffic-conscious most of the time. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why Did the Human Cross the Road? To Confuse the Self-Driving Car," 10 July 2018 Of that count, only in one death and one traumatic brain injury (that came with a severed arm) were the cyclists unquestionably at fault, both pushing Tour de France speeds on descents with oncoming traffic. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "The Troubling Rise of the Ghost Bike," 9 July 2018 Their introduction was prompted by the fact that many Railway Post Office trains withdrew from service as rail traffic declined; the buses essentially served the same purpose, just on highways. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "12 Geeky Ways to Deliver Mail: U.S. Postal Service Technology Through the Ages," 18 Jan. 2019 There's the city traffic outside the window, the squeaking steps of the tenants above, and worst of all, the dog that lives downstairs. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "I Can’t Sleep Without My Big Red Rooster White Noise Machine," 11 Jan. 2019 Freight has been a prominent target of autonomous vehicle research, although in the US most of the hype surrounds freight trucks, which could be run in platoon formation to cut down on highway traffic. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Mining co. says first autonomous freight train network fully operational," 30 Dec. 2018 Air traffic at Gatwick, England’s second largest airport, was disrupted when a drone was spotted flying in the area on Wednesday, prompting the airport to suspend flights through Friday. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "UK police arrest two in connection with Gatwick Airport drone shutdown," 22 Dec. 2018 On most early mornings Noori hurtles to work through Kabul traffic in a ZAN TV car. Kiana Hayeri, Glamour, "A Look Inside the First All-Female TV News Station In Afghanistan," 11 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 From eco-warriors to eco-detectives The anti-trafficking regime laid out under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, struggles to keep up. The Economist, "Asia’s appetite for endangered species is relentless," 19 Apr. 2018 When Uber drivers log on to the app, they will be presented with information that includes how to spot victims of trafficking and best practices for reporting tips to the police and anti-trafficking support groups such as Uber partner Polaris. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Uber enlists its drivers in the fight against sex trafficking with new national campaign," 29 Jan. 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 Feb 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 \

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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