Dictionary.com

mercantilism

[ mur-kuhn-ti-liz-uhm, -tee-, -tahy- ]
/ ˈmɜr kən tɪˌlɪz əm, -ti-, -taɪ- /
Save This Word!

noun
mercantile practices or spirit; commercialism.

COMPARE MEANINGS

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of mercantilism

From the French word mercantilisme, dating back to 1870–75. See mercantile, -ism

OTHER WORDS FROM mercantilism

mer·can·til·ist, noun, adjectivemer·can·til·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mercantilism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mercantilism

mercantilism
/ (ˈmɜːkəntɪˌlɪzəm) /

noun
Also called: mercantile system economics a theory prevalent in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries asserting that the wealth of a nation depends on its possession of precious metals and therefore that the government of a nation must maximize the foreign trade surplus, and foster national commercial interests, a merchant marine, the establishment of colonies, etc
a rare word for commercialism (def. 1)

Derived forms of mercantilism

mercantilist, noun, adjective
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

Cultural definitions for mercantilism

mercantilism
[ (mur-kuhn-tee-liz-uhm, mur-kuhn-ti-liz-uhm, mur-kuhn-teye-liz-uhm) ]

An economic doctrine that flourished in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Mercantilists held that a nation's wealth consisted primarily in the amount of gold and silver in its treasury. Accordingly, mercantilist governments imposed extensive restrictions on their economies to ensure a surplus of exports over imports. In the eighteenth century, mercantilism was challenged by the doctrine of laissez-faire. (See also Adam Smith.)

notes for mercantilism

The European quest for colonial holdings in Asia, Africa, and North and South America was partially a product of mercantile economics.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
FEEDBACK