Definition of traffic in English:


Syllabification: traf·fic
Pronunciation: /ˈtrafik


1Vehicles moving on a road or public highway: a stream of heavy traffic
More example sentences
  • On that night we had reports across the city of burglaries, car crime, public order incidents, domestic violence, road traffic accidents.
  • The bill will also restrict the powers of telecommunications companies to disrupt traffic flow by opening roads for cable laying.
  • 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.
1.1A large number of vehicles moving on a road: we were caught in traffic on the expressway
More example sentences
  • I promise that never again will you have to run amidst moving traffic to catch the 6.15 local to work.
  • Trains were not delayed by the sudden downpour and motorists caught in traffic had time to wind up windows against the dramatic shower.
  • Now everyone, from motorists caught up in traffic to commuters crammed in overcrowded trains, can back the calls for a better funding deal by signing a
a traffic jam, congestion, a gridlock, a holdup, a bottleneck, a tie-up
informal a snarl-up, a logjam
1.2The movement of other forms of transportation or of pedestrians: managing the air traffic was a mammoth task
More example sentences
  • He also stated that the lane was inadequate width, thus preventing two-way vehicular traffic and pedestrian movement.
  • Any major disruption to shipping and air traffic can and will leave us without a supply of food.
  • There is no central verge, though pedestrian and vehicular traffic are heavy especially during evenings.
1.3The transportation of goods or passengers: the increased use of railroads for goods traffic
More example sentences
  • They also agreed to encourage an increase in railway passenger traffic between Sofia and Thessaloniki.
  • After the First World War, passenger numbers declined, as road transport improved but freight traffic remained buoyant.
  • He gave evidence of the transfer of passenger and mail traffic to the railway route through Liverpool.
1.4The messages or signals transmitted through a communications system: data traffic between remote workstations
More example sentences
  • This technology transmits broadband traffic over medium voltage power lines.
  • 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.
2The action of dealing or trading in something illegal: the traffic in stolen cattle
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • And those pressures create a lucrative traffic in illegal workers, filling the war chests of criminals.
trade, trading, trafficking, dealing, commerce, business, buying and selling;
smuggling, bootlegging, black market;
3 archaic Dealings or communication between people.

verb (traffics, trafficking, trafficked)

[no object] Back to top  
Deal or trade in something illegal: the government will vigorously pursue individuals who traffic in drugs
More example sentences
  • Thailand is a major market for drugs trafficked from neighboring countries, most notably Myanmar.
  • He catches animals and birds, he traffics in legal and illegal products.
  • And finally, no group trafficked in more illicit liquor than the bootleggers.
trade (in), deal (in), do business in, buy and sell;
smuggle, bootleg
informal run, push


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.



More example sentences
  • When it comes to ways of tackling the drug problem, most Irish people say the answer is to get tougher on dealers and traffickers.
  • The market for human traffickers who buy, cheat or kidnap women and children to work in the booming flesh trade is thriving.
  • We sit here and wax lyrical about drug dealers, drug traffickers, and how they finance terrorism.


More example sentences
  • Then he turns and points to the road heading straight on, the almost trafficless road heading towards some blue distant hills.
  • I'm thinking the deep inland high deserts and a nice crumbling trafficless farm road are the way to go
  • Based on a startling true story, the show takes us down the trafficless roads and on to the unspoilt paradise beaches of a tiny isolated island in the Bahamas.

Definition of traffic in:

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