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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.
The expedition of the Argonauts was partly mercantile, partly military. Arbuthnot.
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.
Syn. -- Mercantile, Commercial. 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.