a person who buys and sells commodities for profit; dealer; trader.
a storekeeper; retailer: a local merchant who owns a store on Main Street.
Chiefly British. a wholesaler.
pertaining to or used for trade or commerce: a merchant ship.
pertaining to the merchant marine.
Steelmaking. (of bars and ingots) of standard shape or size.

1250–1300; Middle English marchant < Old French marcheant < Vulgar Latin *mercātant- (stem of *mercātāns), present participle of *mercātāre, frequentative of Latin mercārī to trade, derivative of merx goods

merchantlike, adjective
outmerchant, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
merchant (ˈmɜːtʃənt)
1.  a person engaged in the purchase and sale of commodities for profit, esp on international markets; trader
2.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) a person engaged in retail trade
3.  (esp in historical contexts) any trader
4.  derogatory a person dealing or involved in something undesirable: a gossip merchant
5.  (modifier)
 a.  of the merchant navy: a merchant sailor
 b.  of or concerned with trade: a merchant ship
6.  (tr) to conduct trade in; deal in
[C13: from Old French, probably from Vulgar Latin mercātāre (unattested), from Latin mercārī to trade, from merx goods, wares]

Merchant (ˈmɜːtʃənt)
Ismail (ˈɪzmeɪəl). 1936--2005, Indian film producer, noted for his collaboration with James Ivory on such films as Shakespeare Wallah (1965), The Europeans (1979), A Room with a View (1986), The Remains of the Day (1993), and The Golden Bowl (2000)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, from Anglo-Fr. marchaunt (O.Fr. marcheant, Fr. marchand), from V.L. *mercatantem (nom. *mercatans) "a buyer," prp. of *mercatare, freq. of L. mercari "to trade" (see market).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Merchant definition

The Hebrew word so rendered is from a root meaning "to travel about," "to migrate," and hence "a traveller." In the East, in ancient times, merchants travelled about with their merchandise from place to place (Gen. 37:25; Job 6:18), and carried on their trade mainly by bartering (Gen. 37:28; 39:1). After the Hebrews became settled in Palestine they began to engage in commercial pursuits, which gradually expanded (49:13; Deut. 33:18; Judg. 5:17), till in the time of Solomon they are found in the chief marts of the world (1 Kings 9:26; 10:11, 26, 28; 22:48; 2 Chr. 1:16; 9:10, 21). After Solomon's time their trade with foreign nations began to decline. After the Exile it again expanded into wider foreign relations, because now the Jews were scattered in many lands.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Fruit and vegetables are too heavy, he reasoned, and a clothes merchant needs two arms to measure and fold goods.
First, he said, the site and its merchant partners would compete aggressively
  on price.
The curriculum includes licensing programs for future merchant marine, coast
  guard and naval reserve officers.
When pirates realize that any merchant ship could be a disguised hunter-killer,
  only the insane will continue and will perish.
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