over·​sell | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsel How to pronounce oversell (audio) \
oversold\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈsōld How to pronounce oversell (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 Not to oversell it — especially since Wiz Khalifa phones it in a bit — but the interpolation here of an adult contemporary staple is unexpected brilliance. Alex Suskind, EW.com, "Friday Five: Loretta Lynn pays tribute, Steve Aoki's adult contemporary phase, and more," 20 Mar. 2021 Modern Eternity Lightweight Puffer Convertible 3-in-1 Maternity Jacket Not to oversell it, but this hyper convertible maternity jacket is kind of genius. Nicola Fumo, Forbes, "15 Raincoats You’ll Actually Want To Wear," 25 Feb. 2021 Well-aware of the furor over early announcements for coronavirus therapies, the duo do not want to oversell their findings and acknowledge the nanobody, called Aeronab 6, needs to be tested in clinical trials. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, "Inspired by llamas’ unique antibodies, scientists create a potent anti-coronavirus molecule," 11 Aug. 2020 If Bordewich oversells the legacy of the Radicals in Congress, his more fundamental misapprehension lies elsewhere: His version of events shortchanges the greatness that humanists of all stripes—not only historians—have found in Lincoln. Andrew Ferguson, The Atlantic, "Abraham Lincoln’s Radical Moderation," 12 Mar. 2020 Trump’s approach has frequently confounded the efforts of the rest of the team by overselling breakthroughs that have to be walked back quietly by his experts. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "'What do we have to lose?': Hope and science vie for dominance at White House coronavirus briefings," 21 Mar. 2020 Some general cost-cutting measures could save fuel as a secondary effect, like overselling flights in order to fly fewer, but fuller, airplanes each day. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Here's What Caused the Fastest New York to London Subsonic Flight Ever," 10 Feb. 2020 Danticat never oversells — her spare, clean prose is no less impactful. Renée Graham, BostonGlobe.com, "People are disappointing; ‘Everything Inside’ is not," 29 Aug. 2019 Things got worse in April 2017, when a major scandal erupted after security officers dragged a passenger off of a United flight that was oversold. NBC News, "United's Oscar Munoz to step down as CEO," 5 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler for oversell

Time Traveler

The first known use of oversell was in 1576

See more words from the same year

Statistics for oversell

Last Updated

30 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oversell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oversell. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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