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Two different terms, for a merchant, began to be used, meerseniers referred to local merchants including bakers, grocers, sellers of dairy products and stall-holders, while the alternate term, koopman, was used to describe those who traded in goods or credit on a large scale.
This distinction was necessary to separate the daily trade that the general population understood from the rising ranks of traders who took up their places on a world stage and were seen as quite distant from everyday experience.
Elizabeth Honig has argued that concepts relating to the role of a merchant began to change in the mid-16th century.
The Dutch term, koopman (meaning merchant), became rather more fluid during the 16th century when Antwerp was the most global market town in Europe.
The term is used to refer to any type of reseller, but can also be used with a specific qualifier to suggest a person who deals in a given characteristic such as "speed merchant" to refer to someone who enjoys fast driving; a "noise merchant", used to refer to a group of musical performers.
In modern times, the term occasionally has been used to refer to a businessperson or someone undertaking activities (commercial or industrial) for the purpose of generating profit, cash flow, sales, and revenue utilizing a combination of human, financial, intellectual and physical capital with a view to fueling economic development and growth.
Rome had two forums; the Forum Romanum and Trajan's Forum.