Definition of commerce in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkämərs/
(abbreviation comm.)


1The activity of buying and selling, especially on a large scale: the possible increase of commerce by a great railroad
More example sentences
  • If we focus on employment, we lose sight of the subtle but very real benefits that commerce and free trade bring.
  • Everyone suddenly began to see the worth in ‘buying and selling’ and generating commerce to turn a profit.
  • 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.
trade, trading, buying and selling, business, dealing, traffic;
(financial) transactions, dealings
2 dated Social dealings between people: outside the normal commerce of civilized life
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • There wasn't a lot of social commerce going on between the two groups.
relations, dealings, socializing, communication, association, contact, intercourse
3 archaic Sexual intercourse.
Example sentences
  • 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.


Mid 16th century (sense 2): from French, or from Latin commercium 'trade, trading', from com- 'together' + mercium (from merx, merc- 'merchandise').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·merce

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.