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Trade in something vs Trade on something

trade in somethingbuy and sell a particular commodity:

  • The company of merchants included both general dealers and such as traded in only one kind of wares.

Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase trade something ingive a used thing as part payment for a new one:

  • You trade in your car and the minute you get used to the thing some bastard puts out a new model.

trade on somethingtake an unfair advantage of a person’s weakness, ignorance, etc.:

  • Employment agencies have been characterized as a class who trade on the needs of the inexperienced searcher.