Definition of traffic in English:



  • 1Vehicles moving on a road or public highway.

    ‘a stream of heavy traffic’
    • ‘The net result of the previous effects would be improved traffic operations and less effect of heavy vehicles on traffic flow.’
    • ‘The accident caused traffic chaos for motorists along Featherstall Road until the seven-tonne truck was removed at around 8am.’
    • ‘The bill will also restrict the powers of telecommunications companies to disrupt traffic flow by opening roads for cable laying.’
    • ‘The unfortunate thing about road traffic accidents is that the situation never stands still.’
    • ‘However, it is not our sole responsibility - everybody has a part to play in reducing road traffic accidents and that includes parents.’
    • ‘This follows a number of road traffic accidents in and near the village recently.’
    • ‘Problems range from lost luggage and minor injuries through to road traffic accidents and serious diseases.’
    • ‘It is also being used to determine the cause of serious road traffic accidents.’
    • ‘The usual emergencies such as fires or road traffic accidents will not elicit a response from these vehicles, even with the crews and fire engines on station.’
    • ‘The country's busiest route, the Belfast-Dublin road, claimed another traffic accident victim yesterday.’
    • ‘There have been several road traffic accidents in recent weeks.’
    • ‘Road traffic accidents in the city would thus be limited to negligent rear-ending incidents.’
    • ‘There is always lots of urge in the mid-range, making the car easy to drive, both in heavy city traffic and on the open road.’
    • ‘Obviously this is an area of greatest risk from fire, but sadly many people are also injured following road traffic accidents and other emergencies.’
    • ‘The location of speed cameras is based on the collation and evaluation of road traffic accident casualty statistics over a three-year period.’
    • ‘Road traffic accidents are far more frequent these days.’
    • ‘Road traffic accidents alone account for an estimated five million head injuries each year.’
    • ‘These figures show that, in general, the effect of heavy vehicles on traffic flow increases with the increase in grade.’
    • ‘On that night we had reports across the city of burglaries, car crime, public order incidents, domestic violence, road traffic accidents.’
    • ‘Most referrals have been occupational injuries, but the company wants to extend into road traffic accidents.’
    vehicles, cars, lorries, trucks
    congestion, traffic jam, jam, tailback, hold-up, bottleneck, gridlock, queue, stoppage, obstruction
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The movement of other forms of transportation or of pedestrians.
      ‘managing the air traffic was a mammoth task’
      • ‘There is no central verge, though pedestrian and vehicular traffic are heavy especially during evenings.’
      • ‘Pedestrian and vehicular traffic is to utilise only the right lane of the north-bound Henry Street.’
      • ‘Another chain-link fence on either side of the tracks further restricts pedestrian traffic.’
      • ‘Any major disruption to shipping and air traffic can and will leave us without a supply of food.’
      • ‘Air traffic control and aircraft control systems, as examples, are of that nature.’
      • ‘The agreement will create new opportunities for the aviation industry and will increase air traffic.’
      • ‘He also stated that the lane was inadequate width, thus preventing two-way vehicular traffic and pedestrian movement.’
      • ‘The refugees apparently were trying to take advantage of decreased holiday train traffic.’
      • ‘That is a busy bit of sea with lots of ships and intensive ferry traffic.’
      • ‘They are usually established where there is heavy pedestrian traffic.’
      • ‘On December 14, he dismissed calls to probe all US government air traffic movements through Britain.’
      • ‘The company expects to almost double its usual mid-week train traffic.’
      • ‘There is a meticulous logging of pedestrian traffic, routines of security personnel, and details of buildings.’
      • ‘Most train traffic was lost to cars rather than to aircraft.’
      • ‘The bridge to the Island Airport will open the waterfront to heavy daily commercial air traffic.’
      • ‘The resulting measurements can be used to assess air quality, the impact of air traffic, and even the environmental impact of specific aircraft.’
      • ‘An independent report commission by air traffic controllers said the growth in air traffic poses significant new risks and proposes changes to improve safety.’
      • ‘Separating motor from pedestrian traffic was more than somewhat retarded.’
      • ‘Pedestrian overbridges and subways provide total segregation of pedestrians and vehicular traffic.’
      • ‘The adolescent males often disregard pedestrian and car traffic, riding after dark and the wrong way on roundabouts.’
    2. 1.2 The transportation of goods or passengers.
      ‘the increased use of railroads for goods traffic’
      • ‘In the first year, passenger traffic was four times the predicted level.’
      • ‘The rail network was completely shut down for passengers and freight traffic.’
      • ‘The action resulted in the halting of all passenger and freight rail traffic nationwide between 03.00 to 09.00.’
      • ‘The freight and passenger traffic is greater in the latter part of the week than at the beginning of the week.’
      • ‘Just three months ago Asian airlines were basking in big turnarounds of their passenger and cargo traffic.’
      • ‘The airport will not be closed to normal passenger traffic, and it is expected that the receiving area for the casualties will be contained.’
      • ‘After the First World War, passenger numbers declined, as road transport improved but freight traffic remained buoyant.’
      • ‘In a matter of weeks, traffic fell from 40,000 passengers a day to just 5000.’
      • ‘He laughs when he explains all the rail franchises were awarded on the understanding that passenger traffic would contract each year.’
      • ‘They also agreed to encourage an increase in railway passenger traffic between Sofia and Thessaloniki.’
      • ‘All stations would be enormous enough to cope with increased passenger traffic over the next five decades.’
      • ‘The strike will affect passenger and freight traffic across the nation.’
      • ‘He gave evidence of the transfer of passenger and mail traffic to the railway route through Liverpool.’
      • ‘The economic boom in the capital is already shifting the balance of passenger traffic.’
      • ‘Air freight traffic grew at a significantly faster rate than passenger traffic during the same period.’
      • ‘Perhaps Alaska's burgeoning tourist industry will eventually revive the international passenger traffic.’
      • ‘Goods and passenger traffic to Scotland has increased recently.’
      • ‘In the first half of the year, passenger traffic increased by a record high 37 per cent.’
      • ‘The dispute comes at a time when the rail service has seen increasing levels of freight and long-distance passenger traffic.’
      • ‘But with the explosion of automobile ownership, rail passenger traffic went into rapid decline.’
      transport, transportation, movement of goods, movement of people, freight, shipping, conveyancing
      View synonyms
  • 2The messages or signals transmitted through a communications system.

    ‘data traffic between remote workstations’
    • ‘Networks were configured for message traffic with packet sizes of 512 bytes.’
    • ‘You still have to pay for the SMS traffic but the system is elegant.’
    • ‘This technology transmits broadband traffic over medium voltage power lines.’
    • ‘These sites have giant radio antennas that can pick up all traffic handled by communications satellites.’
    • ‘The biggest threats come from malicious virus spreaders who can clog IT systems so effectively all traffic can come to a standstill.’
    • ‘This can transmit multimedia traffic using a single laser over a single wavelength of light.’
    • ‘The simple basics of VOIP is that it uses high speed internet lines to carry voice traffic instead of telephone lines.’
    • ‘Just seventy pounds of glass in the form of optical fibers can transmit as much telephone traffic as one ton of copper.’
    • ‘All these services generate huge amount of traffic of SMS messages.’
    • ‘Around 80 per cent of all traffic in the Internet is already P2P.’
    • ‘They also showed that on-board systems ignored the Bluetooth traffic generated by an infected mobile phone.’
    • ‘A network is operated such that message forwarding traffic is shared among routers in a load-sharing set.’
    • ‘A card on your computer receives and then transmits your traffic back to the provider.’
    • ‘Computers could be used to route traffic around numerous interconnected systems and if one or several boxes failed, the network would keep on ticking.’
    • ‘It is estimated that a majority of all email traffic on the Internet is spam.’
    • ‘Without message traffic, the most skilled analysts are helpless.’
    • ‘A technique for tracing the path taken by e-mail, Web traffic and other data.’
  • 3The action of dealing or trading in something illegal.

    ‘the traffic in stolen cattle’
    • ‘Drug-dealers earn nigh-on incredible sums from the illegal traffic in drugs.’
    • ‘The traffic in illegal drugs is a global problem, and money-laundering schemes take many forms.’
    • ‘As some say, up to 20% of their revenue is derived from the traffic in illegal sound recordings.’
    • ‘And those pressures create a lucrative traffic in illegal workers, filling the war chests of criminals.’
    • ‘It is a first step, but an important one, in stopping the world-wide traffic in stolen antiquities.’
    • ‘The traffic in human body parts is a grisly business from which most Nigerians will go a long way to keep their distance.’
    • ‘This was all to do with stopping traffic in illegal wood and enforcing the law.’
    • ‘The traffic in women is largely illegal and undocumented.’
    • ‘They collaborate in order to deal with various common problems, from the environment to the traffic in illegal drugs.’
    • ‘The second method employed by the Basel Convention is to ensure that states punish illegal traffic as a criminal offence.’
    • ‘Other government figures said the dispatch of soldiers to the border was to curb contraband traffic in the region.’
    • ‘They asked to be informed if the prospects of the livestock traffic in 1930 were likely to be such as would justify the reduction in lairage charges.’
    trade, trading, trafficking, dealing, commerce, business, peddling, buying and selling
    View synonyms
  • 4archaic Dealings or communication between people.

    dealings, association, contact, communication, connection, relations, intercourse
    View synonyms


  • Deal or trade in something illegal.

    ‘the government will vigorously pursue individuals who traffic in drugs’
    • ‘Two hundred thousand people are trafficked into this country for sexual labor every day.’
    • ‘He catches animals and birds, he traffics in legal and illegal products.’
    • ‘Thailand is a major market for drugs trafficked from neighboring countries, most notably Myanmar.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, Cannabis is not the only drug trafficked or abused in Zambia.’
    • ‘Narcotics officers are still keeping a close eye on drug trafficking in and around the city.’
    • ‘There were reports that women are trafficked into the country for prostitution.’
    • ‘‘And we are talking about predominantly women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation,’ he said.’
    • ‘How were the terrorists able to rent a safe house and secretly traffic in operatives and material?’
    • ‘He denied knowing that Paul was trafficking in drugs and said he did not know that a drug deal was about to occur that night.’
    • ‘Each year, some 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide, according to the United Nations.’
    • ‘And finally, no group trafficked in more illicit liquor than the bootleggers.’
    • ‘The men advertised in English newspapers to hire girls but also used illegally trafficked women with no paperwork or visas.’
    • ‘He used drugs during this period and trafficked in drugs to pay for his habit as well as to provide for his family.’
    trade, deal, do business, peddle, bargain
    View synonyms


Early 16th century (denoting commercial transportation of merchandise or passengers): from French traffique, Spanish tráfico, or Italian traffico, of unknown origin. Sense 1 dates from the early 19th century.