Mercantile marine
Mercantile Mer"can*tile (?; 277), a. [F. mercantile, It. mercantile, fr. L. mercans, -antis, p. pr. of mercari to traffic. See {Merchant}.] Of or pertaining to merchants, or the business of merchants; having to do with trade, or the buying and selling of commodities; commercial. [1913 Webster]

The expedition of the Argonauts was partly mercantile, partly military. --Arbuthnot. [1913 Webster]

{Mercantile agency}, an agency for procuring information of the standing and credit of merchants in different parts of the country, for the use of dealers who sell to them.

{Mercantile marine}, the persons and vessels employed in commerce, taken collectively.

{Mercantile paper}, the notes or acceptances given by merchants for goods bought, or received on consignment; drafts on merchants for goods sold or consigned. --McElrath. [1913 Webster]

Syn: {Mercantile}, {Commercial}.

Usage: Commercial is the wider term, being sometimes used to embrace mercantile. In their stricter use, commercial relates to the shipping, freighting, forwarding, and other business connected with the commerce of a country (whether external or internal), that is, the exchange of commodities; while mercantile applies to the sale of merchandise and goods when brought to market. As the two employments are to some extent intermingled, the two words are often interchanged. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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