Meaning of TRAFFIC in English


I. traf ‧ fic 1 S1 W2 /ˈtræfɪk/ BrE AmE noun [uncountable]

[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Origin: Early French trafique , from Old Italian traffico , from trafficare 'to trade' ]

1 . the vehicles moving along a road or street:

There wasn’t much traffic on the roads.

The sound of the traffic kept me awake.

2 . the movement of aircraft, ships, or trains from one place to another:

air traffic control

the problems of air traffic congestion in Europe

3 . formal the movement of people or goods by aircraft, ships, or trains

traffic of

Most long-distance traffic of heavy goods is done by ships.

4 . the secret buying and selling of illegal goods:

drugs traffic

traffic in

traffic in firearms

• • •


■ verbs

▪ be stuck/caught/held up in traffic

Sorry I’m late – I was stuck in traffic.

▪ avoid/miss the traffic

I left early, hoping to miss the traffic.

▪ cut/reduce traffic

The congestion charge did cut road traffic in central London.

▪ traffic moves/flows

At last the traffic was moving again.

▪ traffic is diverted (=made to go in another direction)

Traffic was diverted onto the A166 as emergency services cleared the wreckage


▪ heavy

We ran into heavy traffic near the airport.

▪ light

The traffic is fairly light at this time of day.

▪ bad/terrible

The traffic was terrible this morning.

▪ slow/slow-moving

Traffic’s very slow going out of New York.

▪ rush-hour traffic

I left early to try to miss the rush-hour traffic.

▪ local traffic

There is quite a lot of local traffic.

▪ motorway traffic British English , freeway traffic AmE:

As motorway traffic worsens, commuters may have to find other ways of getting to and from work.

▪ oncoming traffic (=traffic coming towards you)

The driver, too busy watching oncoming traffic, doesn’t notice the pedestrian ahead.

■ traffic + NOUN

▪ a traffic jam (=a line of cars that have stopped, or are moving very slowly)

She spent two hours sitting in a traffic jam.

▪ traffic congestion (=when the roads are full of traffic)

efforts to cut traffic congestion

▪ traffic flow (=the steady movement of traffic)

The road widening should help to improve traffic flow.

▪ a traffic accident

He’s been involved in a traffic accident.

▪ the traffic police (=police dealing with traffic problems and illegal driving)

The teenagers got stopped by the local traffic police.

▪ traffic noise

You get a lot of traffic noise living here.

■ phrases

▪ the volume of traffic

The new ring road will reduce the volume of traffic through the village.

▪ a stream of traffic (=a long continuous series of cars, trucks etc)

There was a constant stream of traffic.

▪ the roar/rumble/hum of traffic

The only noise was the distant rumble of traffic on the coastal road.

II. traffic 2 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle trafficked , present participle trafficking ) [transitive]

to take someone to another country and force them to work, for example as a ↑ prostitute :

He had made a fortune by trafficking young women.

traffic in something phrasal verb

to buy and sell illegal goods:

Lewis was found guilty of trafficking in drugs.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.