[ traf-ik ]
See synonyms for: traffictraffickedtraffickingtrafficker on

  1. the movement of vehicles, ships, persons, etc., in an area, along a street, through an air lane, over a water route, etc.: the heavy traffic on Main Street.

  2. the vehicles, persons, etc., moving in an area, along a street, etc.

  1. the transportation of goods for the purpose of trade, by sea, land, or air: ships of traffic.

  2. trade; buying and selling; commercial dealings.

  3. trade between different countries or places; commerce.

  4. the business done by a railroad or other carrier in the transportation of freight or passengers.

  5. the aggregate of freight, passengers, telephone or telegraph messages, etc., handled, especially in a given period.

  6. communication, dealings, or contact between persons or groups: traffic between the Democrats and the Republicans.

  7. mutual exchange or communication: traffic in ideas.

  8. trade in some specific commodity or service, often of an illegal nature: the vast traffic in narcotics.

  9. illegal commercial trade in human beings for the purpose of exploiting them: the traffic in young children.

verb (used without object),traf·ficked, traf·fick·ing.
  1. to carry on traffic, trade, or commercial dealings.

  2. to trade or deal in a specific commodity or service, often of an illegal nature (usually followed by in): to traffic in opium.

verb (used with object),traf·ficked, traf·fick·ing.
  1. (of vehicles or persons) to move over or through (a place): It's a heavily trafficked bridge.

  2. to trade or deal in (a commodity or service): to traffic guns.

  1. to trade in (human beings) for the purpose of exploitation: He was convicted for trafficking illegal immigrants.

Origin of traffic

First recorded in 1495–1505; earlier traffyk, from Middle French trafique (noun), trafiquer; (verb) from Italian traffico (noun), trafficare (verb), of disputed origin

synonym study For traffic

4. See trade.

Other words from traffic

  • traf·fick·er, noun
  • traf·fic·less, adjective
  • in·ter·traf·fic, noun, verb, in·ter·traf·ficked, in·ter·traf·fick·ing.
  • un·traf·ficked, adjective

Words Nearby traffic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use traffic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for traffic


/ (ˈtræfɪk) /

    • the vehicles coming and going in a street, town, etc

    • (as modifier): traffic lights

  1. the movement of vehicles, people, etc, in a particular place or for a particular purpose: sea traffic

    • the business of commercial transportation by land, sea, or air

    • the freight, passengers, etc, transported

  1. (usually foll by with) dealings or business: have no traffic with that man

  2. trade, esp of an illicit or improper kind: drug traffic

  3. the aggregate volume of messages transmitted through a communications system in a given period

  4. mainly US the number of customers patronizing a commercial establishment in a given time period

verb-fics, -ficking or -ficked (intr)
  1. (often foll by in) to carry on trade or business, esp of an illicit kind

  2. (usually foll by with) to have dealings

Origin of traffic

C16: from Old French trafique, from Old Italian traffico, from trafficare to engage in trade

Derived forms of traffic

  • trafficker, noun
  • trafficless, 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