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

Oak will be closed to through traffic, but access will continue to most existing parking and nearby businesses. David Ibata, ajc, "Woodstock streets to close for brewery work," 13 July 2018 The road will be closed to all through traffic, but access to residents within the work zone will be maintained throughout the project. Henry J. Morgan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Construction will close Mequon Road for 4-5 months at Country Aire Drive in Germantown," 11 July 2018 During this time, the bridge will be closed to all through traffic including school buses and emergency vehicles, according to the Harford County Department of Public Works Bureau of Construction. The Aegis, "New Park Road in Norrisville to close six months for bridge replacement," 11 July 2018 Some teams, Frye said, like those of James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden, found that tiny window that allowed them to cut through traffic like a hot knife through butter. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar racing with its new aero kits is 'awesome,' or perhaps 'bland'," 9 July 2018 The funeral procession then made its way through afternoon traffic toward an old corner of the city called Qalacha. New York Times, "Bomb Rattles an Afghan Minority So Small ‘No One Is a Stranger’," 2 July 2018 Commerce Street will be closed from Navarro to Soledad streets. Through traffic will be able to turn on Presa and Navarro streets to detour. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "I-10 and downtown highway closures may snarl your weekend," 29 June 2018 Highway 59 is closed to through traffic at Highway 20 through Monday, according to the Modesto Bee. Michael Mcgough, Jordan Cutler-tietjen And Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "North state fires surpass 12,000 acres as Lake County blaze continues to grow," 25 June 2018 That will be an overnight project and the road will be closed to through traffic. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "Work Continues On Park Road/ I-84, Local Road Projects Continue Through July," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 An increase in juvenile cases tracks with what Orleans Chief Juvenile Court Judge Candice Bates-Anderson told the New Orleans City Council about trafficking cases in October. Kevin Litten, NOLA.com, "Human trafficking in Louisiana continues to increase, state numbers show," 5 Mar. 2018 The other drug-trafficking organization netted eight arrests. David Harris, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Feds get 60 guns off streets in Central Florida during end-of-year crackdown on violent crime," 10 Jan. 2018 An investigation of a large-scale, drug-trafficking organization in Ohio led to the seizure of more than 20 pounds of drugs. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Feds: Fentanyl seized in Ohio bust could be 5 million fatal doses," 26 June 2018 Such immigration checkpoints on highways have been used by the Border Patrol for years, often along popular smuggling and drug-trafficking routes in the Southwest. Matthew Haag, BostonGlobe.com, "In Maine and N.H., border patrol checkpoints," 23 June 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

5 Nov 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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