[ mur-kuh n-teel, -tahyl, -til ]
/ ˈmɜr kənˌtil, -ˌtaɪl, -tɪl /


of or relating to merchants or trade; commercial.
engaged in trade or commerce: a mercantile nation.
Economics. of or relating to the mercantile system.

Nearby words

  1. merc.,
  2. merca,
  3. mercado,
  4. mercalli,
  5. mercalli scale,
  6. mercantile agency,
  7. mercantile paper,
  8. mercantile system,
  9. mercantilism,
  10. mercaptan

Origin of mercantile

1635–45; < French < Italian: pertaining to merchants, equivalent to mercant(e) merchant (< Latin mercant-, stem of mercāns buyer, noun use of present participle of mercārī to buy) + -ile -ile

Related formsnon·mer·can·tile, adjectivequa·si-mer·can·tile, adjectiveun·mer·can·tile, adjective

Synonym study

1. See commercial. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mercantile

British Dictionary definitions for mercantile


/ (ˈmɜːkənˌtaɪl) /


of, relating to, or characteristic of trade or traders; commercial
of or relating to mercantilism

Word Origin for mercantile

C17: from French, from Italian, from mercante merchant

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 mercantile



1640s, from French mercantile (17c.), from Italian mercantile, from Medieval Latin mercantile, from Latin mercantem (nominative mercans) "a merchant," also "trading," present participle of mercari "to trade," from merx (see market (n.)). Mercantile system first appears in Adam Smith (1776).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper