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[treyd] /treɪd/
the act or process of buying, selling, or exchanging commodities, at either wholesale or retail, within a country or between countries:
domestic trade; foreign trade.
the act of buying, selling, or exchanging stocks, bonds, or currency:
Stock brokerages typically charge a commission per trade.
a purchase or sale; business deal or transaction.
an exchange of items, usually without payment of money.
Sports. the transfer of a player or players among professional teams:
a midseason trade.
any occupation pursued as a business or livelihood.
some line of skilled manual or mechanical work; craft:
the trade of a carpenter; printer's trade.
people engaged in a particular line of business:
a lecture of interest only to the trade.
an increase in the tourist trade.
a field of business activity:
a magazine for the furniture trade.
the customers of a business establishment.
Informal. trade paper.
trades, trade wind (def 1).
verb (used with object), traded, trading.
to buy and sell; barter; traffic in.
to exchange:
to trade seats.
Sports. to transfer (a player under contract) from one team to another:
The manager traded two defensive players at the end of the season.
verb (used without object), traded, trading.
to carry on trade.
to be bought, sold, or exchanged:
Stocks traded lower after the release of the jobs report.
to traffic (usually followed by in):
a tyrant who trades in human lives.
to make an exchange.
to make one's purchases; shop; buy.
of or relating to trade or commerce.
used by, serving, or intended for a particular trade:
trade journal.
Also, trades. of, composed of, or serving the members of a trade:
a trade club.
Verb phrases
trade down, to exchange a more valuable or desirable item for a less valuable or desirable one.
trade in, to give (a used article) as payment to be credited toward a purchase:
We trade in our car every three years.
trade off, to exchange something for or with another.
trade on/upon, to turn to one's advantage, especially selfishly or unfairly; exploit:
to trade on the weaknesses of others.
trade up, to exchange a less valuable or desirable item for a more valuable or desirable one.
Origin of trade
1300-50; 1540-50 for def 6; Middle English: course, path, track < Middle Low German, Middle Dutch (Old Saxon trada), cognate with Old High German trata; akin to tread
Related forms
tradable, tradeable, adjective
tradeless, adjective
intertrade, noun, verb, intertraded, intertrading.
nontrade, noun
nontrading, adjective
protrade, adjective
retrade, verb, retraded, retrading, noun
undertrade, verb, undertraded, undertrading.
untradable, adjective
untradeable, adjective
untraded, adjective
untrading, adjective
1. business, barter, dealing. 4. swap. 6. vocation, métier, employment, living, craft.
Synonym Study
1.Trade, commerce, traffic refer to the exchanging of commodities for other commodities or money. Trade is the general word: a brisk trade between the nations. Commerce applies to trade on a large scale and over an extensive area: international commerce. Traffic may refer to a particular kind of trade; but it usually suggests the travel, transportation, and activity associated with or incident to trade: the opium traffic; heavy traffic on the railroads. 6. See occupation. 14. Trade, bargain, barter, sell refer to exchange or transfer of ownership for some kind of material consideration. Trade conveys the general idea, but often means to exchange articles of more or less even value: to trade with Argentina. Bargain suggests a somewhat extended period of coming to terms: to bargain about the price of a horse. Barter applies especially to exchanging goods, wares, labor, etc., with no transfer of money for the transaction: to barter wheat for machinery. Sell implies transferring ownership, usually for a sum of money: to sell a car. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for trade down
Historical Examples
  • It's all there in the run, and that means he's keepin it to trade down among the 'Groups.'

    There She Blows! William Hussey Macy
  • She was engaged in trade down there, and we used to have a brush occasionally with the pirates.

  • Some hypnotists "trade down" symptoms by replacing a serious symptom with a minor one, while others just remove the symptom.

  • They were resting idle, the trade down the Mississippi below St. Louis having been cut off by the war.

British Dictionary definitions for trade down

trade down

(intransitive, adverb) to sell a large or relatively expensive house, car, etc, and replace it with a smaller or less expensive one


the act or an instance of buying and selling goods and services either on the domestic (wholesale and retail) markets or on the international (import, export, and entrepôt) markets related adjective mercantile
a personal occupation, esp a craft requiring skill
the people and practices of an industry, craft, or business
exchange of one thing for something else
the regular clientele of a firm or industry
amount of custom or commercial dealings; business
a specified market or business: the tailoring trade
an occupation in commerce, as opposed to a profession
commercial customers, as opposed to the general public: trade only, trade advertising
(homosexual slang) a sexual partner or sexual partners collectively
(archaic) a custom or habit
(transitive) to buy and sell (commercial merchandise)
to exchange (one thing) for another
(intransitive) to engage in trade
(intransitive) to deal or do business (with): we trade with them regularly
intended for or available only to people in industry or business: trade prices
Derived Forms
tradable, tradeable, adjective
tradeless, adjective
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: track, hence, a regular business): related to Old Saxon trada, Old High German trata track; see tread
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for trade down



late 14c., "path, track, course of action," introduced by the Hanse merchants, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German trade "track, course" (probably originally of a trading ship), cognate with Old English tredan (see tread). Sense of "one's habitual business" (1540s) developed from the notion of "way, course, manner of life" (mid-15c.); sense of "buying and selling" is first recorded 1550s. Trade wind (1640s) has nothing to do with commerce, but preserves the obsolete sense of "in a habitual or regular course." Trade union is attested from 1831.



1540s, "to tread a path," from trade (n.). Meaning "to occupy oneself (in something)" is recorded from c.1600. The U.S. sports team sense of "to exchange one player for another" is attested from 1899. Related: Traded; trading. To trade down is attested from 1942. Trade-in in reference to used cars is recorded from 1917. Trading post is recorded from 1796.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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trade down in Culture

trade definition

Business or commerce; economic activity.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for trade down



: Most White gay men use it to mean a heterosexual male who has sex with men for money or other consideration (''He can be done for trade''; ''Watch out for him; he's rough trade'')/ flashy, precise, and humpy as decidedly sexy trade in a Czardas with six girls (1935+ Homosexuals)

Related Terms

the rag trade, rough trade

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with trade down

trade down

Exchange for something of lower value or price, as in They bought a smaller boat, trading down for the sake of economy. Similarly,trade up means “make an exchange for something of higher value or price,” as in They traded up to a larger house. [ First half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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