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?

1 Answer 1


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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