from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to merchants or trade.
  • adj. Of or relating to mercantilism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Concerned with the exchange of goods for profit

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to merchants, or the business of merchants; having to do with trade, or the buying and selling of commodities; commercial.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to merchants, or the traffic carried on by merchants; having to do with trade or commerce; trading; commercial.
  • Characteristic of the business of merchants; in accord with business principles.
  • Synonyms Mercantile, Commercial. Commercial is the broader term, including the other. Mercantile applies only to the actual purchase and sale of goods, according to one's line of business; the mercantile class in a community comprises all such as are actually in the business of buying and selling. Commercial covers the whole theory and practice of commerce, home or foreign : as, the British are a commercial people; commercial usages, honor, law. The word is applicable wherever the more varied activities of commerce are concerned.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. relating to or characteristic of trade or traders
  • adj. profit oriented
  • adj. of or relating to the economic system of mercantilism


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French, from Italian, from mercante, merchant, from Latin mercāns, mercant-, from present participle of mercārī, to trade, from merx, merc-, merchandise, goods.


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  • In all the thirteen years of her non-government, we find no further protection of women than for the sake of that which is always made the one plea of protection in mercantile England – property: and we are rather startled than satisfied, when we read, that under Queen Anne, one Haagen Swensden was tried and executed "for stealing and marrying Mistress Pleasant Rawlins," because she was an heiress.

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  • In my hometown, the local mercantile closed in the 1950s, giving way to more modern sorts of stores. I wonderful if general stores were commonly called mercantiles then, or if the one I briefly knew was an anomaly.

    July 17, 2007