Commercial is an adjective describing something with money-making and marketing intentions. If you’re a bit of a book snob, steer clear of commercial fiction, which is written for the widest enjoyment.

The adjective commercial first appeared in the 1680’s, long before television commercials, which is probably what you think of when you hear the word. An al was added to commerce, and it meant "pertaining to trade." It wasn’t until the 1870's that commercial meant “done for the sake of financial profit,” and then later in the 1930's, the noun form was refined to describe “an advertisement broadcast on radio or TV.”

Definitions of commercial
  1. adjective
    connected with or engaged in or sponsored by or used in commerce or commercial enterprises
    commercial trucker”
    commercial TV”
    commercial diamonds”
    commercialised, commercialized
    organized principally for financial gain
    relating to or characteristic of trade or traders
    mercantile, mercenary, moneymaking
    profit oriented
    resulting from or dependent on market factors rather than fundamental economic considerations
    see moresee less
    not connected with or engaged in commercial enterprises
    without immediate commercial value
    non-profit-making, nonprofit
    not commercially motivated
    not conducive to commercial success
    uncommercialised, uncommercialized
    not having been commercialized
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    of the kind or quality used in commerce; average or inferior
    commercial grade of beef”
    commercial oxalic acid”
    synonyms: commercial-grade
    of low or inferior quality
  3. adjective
    of or relating to commercialism
    “a commercial attache”
    commercial paper”
    commercial law”
  4. noun
    a commercially sponsored ad on radio or television
    synonyms: commercial message
    see moresee less
    infomercial, informercial
    a television commercial presented in the form of a short documentary
    type of:
    ad, advert, advertisement, advertising, advertizement, advertizing
    a public promotion of some product or service
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘commercial'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up commercial for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer