over·​sell | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsel How to pronounce oversell (audio) \
oversold\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈsōld How to pronounce oversold (audio) \; overselling

Definition of oversell

transitive verb

1a : to sell too much or too many to
b : to sell too much or too many of
2 : to make excessive claims for

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from oversell

oversell \ ˈō-​vər-​ˌsel How to pronounce oversell (audio) \ noun

Examples of oversell in a Sentence

Hotels routinely oversell their rooms, expecting a small percentage of no-shows. Don't oversell yourself in the job interview. The salesman oversold the features on the new model.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Many experts are wary that others are overselling their field, and dooming it when the hype runs out. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity," 21 Dec. 2018 While there will be excitement in 2019 around the IPOs of Uber and Lyft, neither will be overselling its future self-driving taxi services. David Pierce, WSJ, "Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Even in this era of sophisticated computer systems, or perhaps because of them, airlines oversell flights and even, on rare occasions, sell the same seat to two people. George Hobica, USA TODAY, "Six ways you can get booted from your seat on a plane," 9 Jan. 2018 He was given a penalty try in the 78th minute—only for it to be taken away by a video-assistant referee, showing that Neymar had oversold the contact. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Brazil Lives Up to Its Reputation, Tops Costa Rica at World Cup," 22 June 2018 The book is written by Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, whose exposé brought down Theranos, a healthcare company that wildly oversold the capabilities of its blood-testing device. Alan Murray, Fortune, "ZTE Pushback, Dodd-Frank, Barclays Plans: CEO Daily for May 23, 2018," 23 May 2018 Christie Prades doesn't oversell her Gloria Estefan, keeping the character human and grounded. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Hot, Timely 'On Your Feet!' Delivers Estefans' Indomitable Spirit," 20 June 2018 The charter-school advocates, including the CEO of Netflix and a Republican megadonor, attacked Newsom for skipping work as lieutenant governor, overselling his achievements and mismanaging San Francisco as mayor. Angela Hart, sacbee, "Gavin Newsom heads toward general election in California governor's race," 5 June 2018 Some political observers think Cambridge Analytica oversold its ad targeting capabilities, but questions still emerged about the firm’s work for the Trump campaign. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The feds are reportedly investigating Cambridge Analytica," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oversell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of oversell

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oversell

Statistics for oversell

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oversell

The first known use of oversell was in 1576

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for oversell



English Language Learners Definition of oversell

: to accept payment or reservations for more rooms, seats, tickets, etc., than you have available
: to praise (something or someone) too much

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on oversell

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oversell

Spanish Central: Translation of oversell

Britannica English: Translation of oversell for Arabic Speakers

Comments on oversell

What made you want to look up oversell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!