9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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.
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 forms
nonmercantile, adjective
quasi-mercantile, adjective
unmercantile, adjective
1. See commercial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mercantile
  • Some of that control was enforced through political power or contrived through mercantile guile.
  • Everybody who feels an interest in our mercantile marine is sorrowing at its present depressed condition.
  • He obtained what was considered in those days a fair education, and entered mercantile life.
  • Although small-scale and discreet, those old-fashioned shows clearly served a mercantile purpose.
  • mercantile solicits loans through its own employee loan officers, as well as third-party mortgage brokers.
  • Persons operating a mercantile business, selling any type of goods are required to obtain a business license.
British Dictionary definitions for mercantile


of, relating to, or characteristic of trade or traders; commercial
of or relating to mercantilism
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Italian, from mercantemerchant
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 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
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