January 31, 2012
commercial (adjective)
\kuh-MER-shul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : of or relating to commerce2 : designed mainly for profit; especially : designed for mass appeal3 : paid for by advertisers
How do you use it?
Candace was certain that her idea for a company that delivered popcorn and movie rentals had lots of commercial potential.
Are you a word wiz?

At the root of "commerce" is the Latin word "merx." What do you think "merx" means?

We hope you were sold on the idea of answer B as correct. The ultimate root of "commercial" is found in the Latin "commercium," a combination of "com-," meaning "together, thoroughly," and "merc-, merx," meaning "merchandise." "Commercium" entered Middle French as "commerce" and from there English adopted it. Several other profit-driven words have "merx" in their word histories. For example, "market," meaning "a meeting together of people to buy and sell," is an offspring of "merx," as is "merchant," meaning "a buyer and seller of goods for profit," and "mercantile," meaning "of or relating to merchants, trade, or commerce."
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