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[kuh-mur-shuh l] /kəˈmɜr ʃəl/
of, relating to, or characteristic of commerce.
engaged in commerce.
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.
able to yield or make a profit:
We decided that the small oil well was not commercial.
suitable or fit for a wide, popular market:
Communications satellites are gradually finding a commercial use.
suitable for or catering to business rather than private use:
commercial kitchen design; commercial refrigeration.
  1. engaged in transporting passengers or goods for profit.
  2. civilian and public, as distinguished from military or private.
not entirely or chemically pure:
commercial soda.
catering especially to traveling salespeople by offering reduced rates, space for exhibiting products, etc.:
a commercial hotel.
(in U.S. government grading of beef) graded between standard and utility.
paid for by advertisers:
commercial television.
Radio and Television. a paid advertisement or promotional announcement.
  1. a low-quality grade of beef between standard and utility.
  2. a cut of beef of this grade.
British Informal. a traveling salesperson.
Origin of commercial
1680-90; commerce + -ial
Related forms
commercially, adverb
anticommercial, adjective
anticommercially, adverb
anticommercialness, noun
countercommercial, adjective
noncommercial, adjective, noun
noncommercially, adverb
precommercial, adjective
procommercial, adjective
quasi-commercial, adjective
quasi-commercially, adverb
semicommercial, adjective
semicommercially, adverb
supercommercial, adjective
supercommercially, adverb
ultracommercial, adjective
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for commercial
  • Seventy per cent of the trade is in textbooks, which leaves publishers a relatively small commercial market.
  • Lower flood risk with commercial flood insurance coverage to protect your business.
  • If you don't want to use bees for commercial purposes, you don't need commercial hives.
  • His deadpan evocation of flat, bright figures had an everyday quality that linked them to commercial art and popular culture.
  • commercial fishing, for example, can be quite concentrated far from any human settlement.
  • Many of the poached plants may surface at commercial nurseries that purchase flytraps without investigating their origins.
  • Suddenly every commercial is food-related, every meeting in the office has a box of donuts brought in by the devil.
  • Yet today, signs of commercial success are everywhere.
  • Even when sales were slow, she insisted that her husband turn down commercial illustration projects and focus on painting.
  • It had been turned down by a string of commercial publishers.
British Dictionary definitions for commercial


of, connected with, or engaged in commerce; mercantile
sponsored or paid for by an advertiser: commercial television
having profit as the main aim: commercial music
(of goods, chemicals, etc) of unrefined quality or presentation and produced in bulk for use in industry
a commercially sponsored advertisement on radio or television
Derived Forms
commerciality (kəˌmɜːʃɪˈælɪtɪ) noun
commercially, 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
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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
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Slang definitions & phrases for commercial


  1. Any endorsement or recommendation: I like the idea, so spare me the commercial (1930s+)
  2. Obviously designed for wide audience approval: How can it be commercial? It's Jelly Roll (1920s+ Jazz musicians)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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