Here are the quotes from HBO's drama Gentleman Jack

A-He makes carpets, John Abbott.

B-Wool, yes, probably.

A-Either way, he's trade through and through. You're going to have to put the tin lid on that one. Otherwise, I will.

The meanings of trade in Urbandic are all about gay people in the closet, but is it the actual meaning here?


No, it doesn't have to do with sexual orientation. It means he's in the merchant class--works a trade--and from the context, the speaker is looking down on him because of it, presumably because they're of a higher social status.

Compare this line from Pride and Prejudice, set in roughly the same time period:

"Mr. Gardiner was a sensible, gentlemanlike man... The Netherfield ladies* would have had difficulty in believing that a man who lived by trade, and within view of his own warehouses, could have been so well bred and agreeable."

*the "Netherfield ladies" are social climbers who aspire to be part of the landed or titled class.

To quote from the same website: "One thing that may not be obvious is that it is always more "genteel" to be a rural land-owner than to be actively involved in commerce, no matter how much money you're making in business (thus "trade", or business, can be a disparaging word). This is why Mr. Gardiner is looked down upon."

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