[ treyd ]
See synonyms for: tradetradedtrading on

  1. 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.

  2. the act of buying, selling, or exchanging stocks, bonds, or currency: Stock brokerages typically charge a commission per trade.

  1. a purchase or sale; business deal or transaction.

  2. an exchange of items, usually without payment of money.

  3. Sports. the transfer of a player or players among professional teams: a midseason trade.

  4. any occupation pursued as a business or livelihood.

  5. some line of skilled manual or mechanical work; craft: the trade of a carpenter; printer's trade.

  6. people engaged in a particular line of business: a lecture of interest only to the trade.

  7. market: an increase in the tourist trade.

  8. a field of business activity: a magazine for the furniture trade.

  9. the customers of a business establishment.

  10. Informal. trade paper.

verb (used with object),trad·ed, trad·ing.
  1. to buy and sell; barter; traffic in.

  2. to exchange: to trade seats.

  1. 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),trad·ed, trad·ing.
  1. to carry on trade.

  2. to be bought, sold, or exchanged: Stocks traded lower after the release of the jobs report.

  1. to traffic (usually followed by in): a tyrant who trades in human lives.

  2. to make an exchange.

  3. to make one's purchases; shop; buy.

  1. of or relating to trade or commerce.

  2. used by, serving, or intended for a particular trade: trade journal.

  1. Also trades. of, composed of, or serving the members of a trade: a trade club.

Verb Phrases
  1. trade down, to exchange a more valuable or desirable item for a less valuable or desirable one.

  2. trade in, to give (a used article) as payment to be credited toward a purchase: We trade in our car every three years.

  1. trade off, to exchange something for or with another.

  2. trade on / upon to turn to one's advantage, especially selfishly or unfairly; exploit: to trade on the weaknesses of others.

  3. trade up, to exchange a less valuable or desirable item for a more valuable or desirable one.

Origin of trade

First recorded in 1300–50; 1540–50 for def. 6; Middle English: “course, path, track,” from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch (Old Saxon trada ), cognate with Old High German trata; akin to tread

synonym study For trade

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.

Other words for trade

Other words from trade

  • trad·a·ble, trade·a·ble, adjective
  • tradeless, adjective
  • in·ter·trade, noun, verb, in·ter·trad·ed, in·ter·trad·ing.
  • non·trade, noun
  • non·trad·ing, adjective
  • pro·trade, adjective
  • re·trade, verb, re·trad·ed, re·trad·ing, noun
  • un·der·trade, verb, un·der·trad·ed, un·der·trad·ing.
  • un·trad·a·ble, adjective
  • un·trade·a·ble, adjective
  • un·trad·ed, adjective
  • un·trad·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use trade in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trade


/ (treɪd) /

  1. 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

  2. a personal occupation, esp a craft requiring skill

  1. the people and practices of an industry, craft, or business

  2. exchange of one thing for something else

  3. the regular clientele of a firm or industry

  4. amount of custom or commercial dealings; business

  5. a specified market or business: the tailoring trade

  6. an occupation in commerce, as opposed to a profession

  7. commercial customers, as opposed to the general public: trade only; trade advertising

  8. homosexual slang a sexual partner or sexual partners collectively

  9. archaic a custom or habit

  1. (tr) to buy and sell (commercial merchandise)

  2. to exchange (one thing) for another

  1. (intr) to engage in trade

  2. (intr) to deal or do business (with): we trade with them regularly

  1. intended for or available only to people in industry or business: trade prices

Origin of trade

C14 (in the sense: track, hence, a regular business): related to Old Saxon trada, Old High German trata track; see tread

Derived forms of trade

  • tradable or tradeable, adjective
  • tradeless, 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 trade


Business or commerce; economic activity.

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.

Other Idioms and Phrases with trade


In addition to the idioms beginning with trade

  • trade down
  • trade in
  • trade off
  • trade on
  • trade up

also see:

  • tricks of the trade

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.