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

Like other fast-food chains, the burger giant has struggled to increase traffic in the U.S. as dining habits have changed and customers have gravitated to newer rivals. Heather Haddon, WSJ, "McDonald’s Drives Up Sales With Promotions," 30 Apr. 2019 Another provision set for the budget would impose congestion tolls to ease traffic in the busiest parts of Manhattan and fund transit improvements, but details are still being discussed. Chris Carola, The Seattle Times, "Ban on plastic bags comes close to reality in a 3rd state," 30 Mar. 2019 The simple fact is that Republican leaders more often traffic in falsehoods than Democratic leaders do — climate change denial, birtherism, suggesting voter fraud is rampant, and more. Ezra Klein, Vox, "A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently," 18 Dec. 2018 But within just a few days, crews managed to repair the worst of the damage, unsnarling traffic in Alaska’s largest city. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "How Alaska fixed its earthquake-shattered roads in just days," 8 Dec. 2018 That violence was on many minds as television stations carried live images of Lopez Obrador weaving through Mexico City's notoriously chaotic traffic in the front passenger seat of a compact car that was at least five years old. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Mexico's president-elect travels without visible security detail: 'The people will protect me'," 2 Oct. 2018 Usually, when the U.N. convenes, the most immediate impact Americans notice is that traffic in NYC sucks for a week. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The U.N. General Assembly Just Laughed in Trump's Face," 25 Sep. 2018 In response to such ads, the General Assembly in April passed a bill requiring social media platforms and websites with significant traffic to track all political ads and record which users are being targeted. Jean Marbella, baltimoresun.com, "Russian hacking indictment includes Twitter account @BaltimoreIsWhr," 13 July 2018 Because its clients’ online traffic is routed through Akamai, it is uniquely positioned to monitor these ebbs and flows for malicious activity. Angus Loten, WSJ, "Akamai Bets on ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Security," 1 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nipsey Hussle trafficked in some of that imagery but also included more unusual themes in his music: long-term investment and career development. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Going Beyond Music, Nipsey Hussle Promoted Job Skills and Investments," 5 Apr. 2019 More than 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, according to a report in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Megan Friedman, Marie Claire, "14 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men," 6 Nov. 2018 These people are trafficking in a lot of violent rhetoric? Fox News, "Diamond and Silk ride out the storm in North Carolina," 15 Sep. 2018 Season two will see Tandy experience firsthand the stories of women who have been trafficked. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Marvel's "Cloak and Dagger" Season 2 Throws Fresh Villains in the Mix and New Social Issues to Tackle," 9 Apr. 2019 On July 5, Jose Medina Ayala was charged with trafficking the hefty load into the Music City air hub from Los Angeles, News Channel 5 reports. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Man jailed for smuggling 60 pounds of marijuana into Nashville airport," 6 July 2018 Flores was also charged with trafficking cocaine, furnishing false names, and possession of suboxone. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "Police stop car in Boston, discover drugs and more than 20 active warrants for passenger’s arrest," 28 June 2018 The indictment accuses Backpage of facilitating prostitution committed by those posting ads on the site, specifically citing 17 victims trafficked on Backpage, some as young as 14. Author: Tom Jackman, Mark Berman, Anchorage Daily News, "Top officials at Backpage.com indicted after classifieds site taken offline," 10 Apr. 2018 Users were able to make some ad revenue in the early 2010s with their blogs which at the time were heavily trafficked. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Who Are the Anonymous Users Running Instagram’s Most Famous Celebrity Style Instagram Accounts?," 19 July 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

21 May 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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