I had just come up with an Iraqi who was looking for a shopping mall where he can buy his shirts and clothings.

At first he had asked "where is the market?" So I had to re-ask him the category of merchandise he wants to buy.

I have a question here..

Does the word "market" also commonly include the place where you can imagine such as shopping mall complex? (Because where he was looking for was quite big multi-complex where we can watch a movie and shoppoing and eating.. etc)

  • Have you looked up a good dictionary?
    – Kris
    Aug 9, 2017 at 12:57
  • This question is not about dictionary written but asking about the actual presence of word usage among the people in English conversation
    – Daschin
    Aug 9, 2017 at 13:03
  • You're quite right; dictionary definitions won't go into enough detail here. Malls tend to be bigger, newer, brasher, brighter; to have more upmarket eateries and shops, more chain-stores, fewer unenclosed establishments (stalls), and dedicated car-parks. Cinemas and other entertainment venues are much more likely to be found in malls. Of course, some markets are outside markets. Aug 15, 2017 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


In the US, market has a very broad set of meanings. It may be a physical entity synonymous with "store" (in the physical retail sense), or it may be some theoretical concept such as "the market for older homes". Mall tends to be much more specific, and is a type of physical shopping center where the walkways are mostly enclosed (even though the very first "mall" in Chicago did not have enclosed walkways).

Of course, mall also is used to refer to an area, usually covered with grass or some pedestrian-friendly paving, that is in the center between buildings, etc. Thus the National Mall is the strip of land between the US Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial. (Shopping mall is obviously derived from this meaning, but has taken on its own meaning.)

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