[kuh-mur-shuh l]
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  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of commerce.
  2. engaged in commerce.
  3. prepared, done, or acting with sole or chief emphasis on salability, profit, or success: a commercial product; His attitude toward the theater is very commercial.
  4. able to yield or make a profit: We decided that the small oil well was not commercial.
  5. suitable or fit for a wide, popular market: Communications satellites are gradually finding a commercial use.
  6. suitable for or catering to business rather than private use: commercial kitchen design; commercial refrigeration.
  7. (of a vehicle or its use)
    1. engaged in transporting passengers or goods for profit.
    2. civilian and public, as distinguished from military or private.
  8. not entirely or chemically pure: commercial soda.
  9. catering especially to traveling salespeople by offering reduced rates, space for exhibiting products, etc.: a commercial hotel.
  10. (in U.S. government grading of beef) graded between standard and utility.
  11. paid for by advertisers: commercial television.
  1. Radio and Television. a paid advertisement or promotional announcement.
  2. (in U.S. government grading of beef)
    1. a low-quality grade of beef between standard and utility.
    2. a cut of beef of this grade.
  3. British Informal. a traveling salesperson.

Origin of commercial

First recorded in 1680–90; commerce + -ial
Related formscom·mer·cial·ly, adverban·ti·com·mer·cial, adjectivean·ti·com·mer·cial·ly, adverban·ti·com·mer·cial·ness, nouncoun·ter·com·mer·cial, adjectivenon·com·mer·cial, adjective, nounnon·com·mer·cial·ly, adverbpre·com·mer·cial, adjectivepro·com·mer·cial, adjectivequa·si-com·mer·cial, adjectivequa·si-com·mer·cial·ly, adverbsem·i·com·mer·cial, adjectivesem·i·com·mer·cial·ly, adverbsu·per·com·mer·cial, adjectivesu·per·com·mer·cial·ly, adverbul·tra·com·mer·cial, adjective

Synonym study

1. Commercial, mercantile refer to the activities of business, industry, and trade. Commercial is the broader term, covering all the activities and relationships of industry and trade. In a derogatory sense it may mean such a preoccupation with the affairs of commerce as results in indifference to considerations other than wealth: commercial treaties; a merely commercial viewpoint. Mercantile applies to the purchase and sale of goods, or to the transactions of business: a mercantile house or class. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for commercial

Contemporary Examples of commercial

Historical Examples of commercial

British Dictionary definitions for commercial


  1. of, connected with, or engaged in commerce; mercantile
  2. sponsored or paid for by an advertisercommercial television
  3. having profit as the main aimcommercial music
  4. (of goods, chemicals, etc) of unrefined quality or presentation and produced in bulk for use in industry
  1. a commercially sponsored advertisement on radio or television
Derived Formscommerciality (kəˌmɜːʃɪˈælɪtɪ), nouncommercially, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for commercial

1680s, "pertaining to trade," from commerce + -al (1). Meaning "paid for by advertisements" (in reference to radio, TV, etc.) is from 1932; meaning "done for the sake of financial profit" (of art, etc.) is from 1871. Related: Commercially.


"an advertisement broadcast on radio or TV," 1935, from commercial (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper