Definition of mercer in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmərsər/


historical British
  • A dealer in textile fabrics, especially silks, velvets, and other fine materials.

    ‘Allders started life in 1862 when 24-year-old Joshua Allder set up a linen draper and silk mercer at 102 and 103 North End.’
    • ‘Others, like vintners, mercers, and drapers, dealt in goods brought into the town from more distant parts.’
    • ‘Its streets were ‘handsome and broad, full of the shops of jewellers, goldsmiths, lapidaries, carpet weavers, silk mercers and other artisans.’’
    • ‘Henry Spencer Ashbee was a senior partner in a silk mercers, a collector of watercolours and a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Madrid.’
    • ‘The evidence has warranted the inclusion - along with men specifically designated merchants - of vintners, mercers, grocers, spicers, and taverners (but not, generally, brewers).’
    • ‘Drapers and milliners, haberdashers and tailors, mercers and glovers - these were the ubiquitous tradespeople and retailers of Federation King Street.’
    • ‘Although he is ‘in the mercer's books’ for money owed on satins and velvets and in hiding from his creditors, he nonetheless parades openly throughout the city modeling his newest ensemble.’
    • ‘She was the daughter of a Cheapside mercer and wife of a Lombard Street goldsmith, and exercised great influence over Edward IV by her beauty and wit.’
    • ‘Caxton was a trader in rich cloths, a mercer, and books were his passion.’
    • ‘Elsewhere Thomas Spooner, mercer and draper, wanted York people to know he ‘has at present by him a quantity of fine old Jamaica Rum’.’
    • ‘Despite his specialization as draper / mercer, this was the only occasion he is seen dealing in cloth.’
    • ‘Chapters on upholstery reveal his profound knowledge as the last in a long line of mercers - he once memorably lectured at the V & A with bolts of fabrics from Watts and Co. instead of slides.’
    • ‘Tingey believed that, until 1449, only mercers had been permitted to hold the Norwich mayoralty; in fact a hosier was mayor in 1415 and a butcher in 1422.’
    • ‘Dick Whittington set out to see London, having heard that the streets were paved with gold, and upon his arrival he began training to be a mercer.’
    • ‘Thomas, only fourteen years older than Henry himself, was a respected mercer with a talent for languages and diplomacy.’
    • ‘The Bishop commissioned a mercer called Packington to buy up New Testaments directly from the Dutch.’
    • ‘Lady Bennet was born Mary, the daughter of Robert Taylor, a mercer of London.’
    • ‘Born in the Weald of Kent, Caxton went to London at the age of 16 to apprentice to a mercer.’
    • ‘The homes in which paintings were found belonged to people engaged in a wide variety of occupations, from wealthy mercers and goldsmiths to single women of no specified vocation.’
    • ‘Bob describes him as a tall, dapper gentleman who called himself a mercer.’


Middle English from Old French mercier, based on Latin merx, merc- ‘goods’.