Definition of commerce in US English:


(also comm.)


  • 1The activity of buying and selling, especially on a large scale.

    ‘the possible increase of commerce by a great railroad’
    • ‘If we focus on employment, we lose sight of the subtle but very real benefits that commerce and free trade bring.’
    • ‘Dubai is the capital, catering for commerce and tourism.’
    • ‘From there stems new business, and with new businesses and new product comes trade and commerce.’
    • ‘The obvious advantage to this is the vastly increased speed with which commerce can be done over modern communications.’
    • ‘There are only two differences; one is that their major activity was commerce and ours is industry.’
    • ‘Raised on industry and empire, the capital invests in commerce and culture.’
    • ‘Everyone suddenly began to see the worth in ‘buying and selling’ and generating commerce to turn a profit.’
    • ‘Rural culture was giving way to urban culture; and trade, commerce and employment were increasing in the cities.’
    • ‘Mr Monks added that by bringing new residents to the area, local commerce and businesses would benefit and it would help rejuvenate the town centre.’
    • ‘Additional money would match an increase in commerce and the value of money would be held constant.’
    • ‘Come to think of it, the technique of direct selling was prevalent right from the early days of trade and commerce.’
    • ‘Electronic commerce, or e-commerce as it is known, is beginning to revolutionize the way firms do business.’
    • ‘The Sava and Danube Rivers used to bring ships and commerce into the capital.’
    • ‘It is best known for surveys and research into consumer patterns of online shopping and commerce.’
    • ‘Do not overlook the reality that the only real security [success] in commerce is repeat business.’
    • ‘Many of them spend a large part of their lives in a world of commerce that emphasizes producing and selling goods and services.’
    • ‘The renewed relationship can now lead to better trade and commerce between the two nations’
    • ‘York is promoted as being a centre of commerce and business.’
    • ‘Unfortunately business and commerce is a lot more complex than that.’
    • ‘Today it is a city, much like other major capitals, choked with traffic and bustling with commerce.’
    trade, trading, buying and selling, business, bargaining, dealing, traffic, trafficking
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  • 2dated Social dealings between people.

    ‘outside the normal commerce of civilized life’
    • ‘There wasn't a lot of social commerce going on between the two groups.’
    • ‘I would assume that a prostitute, in ordinary social commerce, does not admit to her profession.’
    • ‘Reputations are crucial for the effective functioning of human society and commerce.’
    • ‘All of these were divisive pressures that must have made not just the distribution of charity amongst the two groups, but also basic social commerce between the Hellenists and Hebrews, extremely difficult.’
  • 3archaic Sexual intercourse.

    • ‘In that city at that time it was the custom that any woman who had commerce with any man not her husband would be taken as an adulteress and die for it, unless she was a woman of the streets.’
    • ‘For it is said that it was two months after the marriage before she had commerce with you.’
    sexual intercourse, intercourse, lovemaking, making love, sex act, sexual relations, anal penetration, sexual penetration, vaginal penetration
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Mid 16th century (in commerce (sense 2)): from French, or from Latin commercium ‘trade, trading’, from com- ‘together’ + mercium (from merx, merc- ‘merchandise’).