"a mercantile spirit or character; devotion (or excess devotion) to trade and commerce," 1834, from French mercantilisme; see mercantile + -ism. By 1881 as "the mercantile system." Related: Mercantilist; mercantilistic.
"of or pertaining to merchants, trade, or commerce," 1640s, from French mercantile (17c.), from Italian mercantile, from Medieval Latin mercantile, from Latin mercantem (nominative mercans) "a merchant," also "trading," present participle of mercari "to trade," from merx "wares, merchandise" (see market (n.)). Mercantile system first appears in Adam Smith (1776).
Mercantile system, in polit. econ., the belief generally held till the end of the last century, that all wealth consists in gold and silver, and that therefore the exportation of goods and importation of gold should be encouraged by the state, while the importation of goods and the exportation of gold should be forbidden, or at least restricted as much as possible. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
word-forming element making nouns implying a practice, system, doctrine, etc., from French -isme or directly from Latin -isma, -ismus (source also of Italian, Spanish -ismo, Dutch, German -ismus), from Greek -ismos, noun ending signifying the practice or teaching of a thing, from the stem of verbs in -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached. For distinction of use, see -ity. The related Greek suffix -isma(t)- affects some forms.
<a href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/mercantilism">Etymology of mercantilism by etymonline</a>
Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of mercantilism. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/mercantilism