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Commerce is the outdated expression for trade and traffic , today the term has negative connotations and is understood as profiteering or greed .


The word originally comes from the word for “trade” ( Latin commercium , from Latin cum , “with (each other)” and Latin merx , “commodity”) and came into German via French commerce as a loan word . In some cases it remained positive here until the beginning of the 20th century. Meyer's Konversations-Lexikon already considered the term outdated in 1888. The honorary title of Kommerzienrat was derived from this in the German Reich until 1919 , awarded after substantial foundations for the common good . In Austria it is still awarded as a professional title today .

Today's meaning

Today, commerce is considered "out of date for trade, transport" and is an "economic interest aimed at profit", as is the adjective "commercial". The intention to make a profit is associated with commerce . In contrast, “commercial” has a positive connotation and is interpreted as “commercial, economical”.

Today's Commerzbank was called "Commerz- und Disconto-Bank" when it was founded on February 26, 1870. Today, commerce has a positive connotation again, for example in electronic commerce, e-commerce . “Non-commercial” is used as “non-profit making” and is used in the context of voluntary , non-profit or cost-covering activity . The commercialization concerns the spread of market principles to originally non-market areas such as culture , art or sports .


Individual evidence

  1. Duden (Ed.), Etymology - Dictionary of Origin of the German Language , 2nd Edition, Volume 7, 1989, ISBN 3-411-20907-0
  2. Ursula Hermann, Knaurs etymologisches Lexikon , 1983, p. 261
  3. ^ Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig (ed.), Meyers Konversations-Lexikon , Volume 9, 4th edition, 1888/89
  4. Brockhaus Encyclopedia , 1970, p. 381
  5. Langenscheid , 2009, online
  6. Carsten Burhop, The foundation of the Commerz- und Disconto-Bank 1870. Aktienbanken as a pillar of the universal banking system, in: Institute for banking historical research (Ed.), Key events of German banking history, 2013, p. 157 f.