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

After getting stuck in one of Los Angeles’s notorious traffic jams, pop singer-songwriter Yuna apologizes for being nearly a half-hour late for a phone interview. Ken Capobianco, BostonGlobe.com, "In charge of her image and sound, pop singer Yuna refuses to be pigeonholed," 11 July 2019 Hariri built tunnels en route to the airport, avoiding hellish traffic jams. The Economist, "Beirut is still arguing over its post-war reconstruction," 11 July 2019 Flocks of electric scooters whizz around cars, taxis swerve into oncoming lanes to circumvent traffic jams, and bicycle rickshaws stop abruptly to pick up passengers. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "8 Questions With James Peng of Pony.ai, One of China's Most Valuable Autonomous Vehicle Startups," 10 July 2019 Three free passes to first base created a traffic jam on the basepaths with again only one out. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "In lights out fashion, Pearland East 10s capture Section 3 championship," 9 July 2019 The electricity was out in parts of town, and traffic lights weren’t working, causing traffic jams. Hailey Branson-potts, latimes.com, "‘It was the scare of my life’ — when the ground began shaking in Ridgecrest," 4 July 2019 State lawmakers earmarked $1 million in this year’s budget to deal with vexing summer traffic jams outside Wekiwa Springs State Park but the fix won’t come until winter. Stephen Hudak, orlandosentinel.com, "Traffic jams at Wekiwa Springs to get $1M fix — but not till winter," 3 July 2019 The closings led to days of massive traffic jams near the world’s busiest bridge. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Why the ‘Bridgegate’ Scandal Could Backfire on Prosecutors," 3 July 2019 Demonstrators shut down 12 major junctions across the country, including in the large city of Tel Aviv, leading to huge traffic jams. Alex Ward, Vox, "Violent protests erupt in Israel over police shooting of unarmed Ethiopian teen," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Young wild elephants are also trafficked from Myanmar into Thailand for the tourism trade. National Geographic, "Asian Elephant," 7 July 2019 Ezechi was trafficked to Libya in 2011 and was trapped there for over six years. Abigail Haworth, Marie Claire, "The Lost Daughters of Salerno," 1 July 2019 Suffer the little children Most of the boys come from farms or villages in Senegal, but some are also trafficked from the Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mali. The Economist, "Thousands of children are abused in Senegal’s religious schools," 13 June 2019 So there’s no reason to doubt that the Bering land bridge was trafficking humans in both directions during the Pleistocene. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Ancient DNA Reveals Complex Story of Human Migration Between Siberia and North America," 5 June 2019 Perhaps Rye would permit the country to use detention centers only for those cases in which agents have reasonable suspicion that a child is being trafficked. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Angela Rye Knows You’re Racist," 24 June 2019 But, Warren's position would seem to be somewhat at odds with her prior support of federal anti-trafficking legislation. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "Warren: 'I'm open' to decriminalizing sex work," 20 June 2019 Police described the investigation as an anti-trafficking operation, but no trafficking charges have been made. Molly Crabapple, The New York Review of Books, "It’s Not About Sex," 23 May 2019 On the recommendation of large anti-trafficking nonprofits, law enforcement, district attorneys’ offices, and major tech companies came out in support. Teen Vogue, "The 2020 Democratic Candidates Who Voted in Favor of SESTA/FOSTA," 2 Apr. 2019

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

16 Jul 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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