sell

1 of 4

verb

sold ˈsōld How to pronounce sell (audio) ; selling

transitive verb

1
: to deliver or give up in violation of duty, trust, or loyalty and especially for personal gain : betray
often used with out
sell out their country
2
a(1)
: to give up (property) to another for something of value (such as money)
(2)
: to offer for sale
b
: to give up in return for something else especially foolishly or dishonorably
sold his birthright for a mess of pottage
c
: to exact a price for
sold their lives dearly
3
a
: to deliver into slavery for money
b
: to give into the power of another
sold his soul to the devil
c
: to deliver the personal services of for money
4
: to dispose of or manage for profit instead of in accordance with conscience, justice, or duty
sold their votes
5
a
: to develop a belief in the truth, value, or desirability of : gain acceptance for
trying to sell a program to the Congress
b
: to persuade or influence to a course of action or to the acceptance of something
sell children on reading
6
: to impose on : cheat
7
a
: to cause or promote the sale of
using television advertising to sell cereal
b
: to make or attempt to make sales to
c
: to influence or induce to make a purchase
8
: to achieve a sale of
sold a million copies

intransitive verb

1
: to dispose of something by sale
thinks now is a good time to sell
2
: to achieve a sale
also : to achieve satisfactory sales
hoped that the new line would sell
3
: to have a specified price
sellable adjective

sell

2 of 4

noun (1)

1
: a deliberate deception : hoax
2
: the act or an instance of selling
3
: something to be sold or caused to be accepted
the new mystery novel was an easy sell
also : someone to whom something is sold
the new purchasing agent was a tough sell

sell

3 of 4

noun (2)

variants or selle
archaic
: saddle

sell

4 of 4

chiefly Scottish variant of self

Phrases
sell down the river
: to betray the faith of
sell short
1
: to make a short sale
2
: to fail to value properly : underestimate

Examples of sell in a Sentence

Verb He buys and remodels houses and then sells them at a profit. Stock prices are increasing, so now is a good time to sell. Only a few stores sell that type of equipment.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
According to a news release, at around 12:30 p.m. on July 3, the Springfield Police Department’s (SPD) Crime Reduction Unit served a search warrant at the Brick Builders storefront, a store that sells collectible toys, located at 1133 Willamette Street in Eugene. Ahjané Forbes, USA TODAY, 11 July 2024 According to a report from forecasting firm WGSN, between 15 million and 45 million of the approximately 150 million garments produced annually never get sold. Meghan Hall, Sourcing Journal, 11 July 2024
Noun
Darden Restaurants : The company was downgraded to an underperform sell rating from hold at Jefferies, which cited near-term risks to fundamentals. Paulina Likos, CNBC, 11 July 2024 President Biden’s political opponents will attempt to portray the regulations as a heavy-handed mandate for electric vehicles that tramples on the rights of auto consumers, but that kind of argument will be a tough sell. Peter Douglas, The Mercury News, 23 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for sell 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sell.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Old English sellan; akin to Old High German sellen to sell, Greek helein to take

Noun (2)

Middle English selle, from Anglo-French sele, from Latin sella — more at settle

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sell was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near sell

Cite this Entry

“Sell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sell. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

sell

verb
ˈsel
sold
ˈsōld
; selling
1
: to betray a person or duty
often used with out
2
: to exchange in return for money or something else of value
sell groceries
3
a
: to develop a belief in the truth, value, or desirability of
trying to sell a program to Congress
b
: to bring around to a favorable way of thinking
tried to sell the children on reading
4
: to achieve a sale
also : to achieve satisfactory sales
hoped that the new car would sell
5
: to be sold or priced
these sell for a dollar apiece
seller noun

Legal Definition

sell

verb
sold; selling

transitive verb

1
: to transfer ownership of by sale compare barter, convey, give
2
: to offer for sale

intransitive verb

: to dispose of something by sale : make a sale compare donate
seller noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sell

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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