\ ˈsel-ˌȯf How to pronounce sell-off (audio) \

Definition of sell-off

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a usually sudden sharp decline in security prices accompanied by increased volume of trading

sell off

sold off; selling off; sells off

Definition of sell off (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to suffer a drop in prices

First Known Use of sell-off


1976, in the meaning defined above


1976, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for sell-off

Time Traveler

The first known use of sell-off was in 1976

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Statistics for sell-off

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sell-off.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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Financial Definition of sell-off

What It Is

A sell-off is the rapid selling of a security leading to a sharp decline in its price.

How It Works

When a substantial number of shareholders sell a specific stock, it is called a sell-off.  Generally speaking, prospective buyers sit on the sidelines until the conditions that caused the sell-off to occur are over. So because there are few buyers and many sellers, the stock price declines, sometimes dramatically.

A sell-off may be caused by an event within the company, like a report of lower than expected earnings. A sell-off can also be caused by external forces. For example, a spike in grain prices may trigger a sell-off in food stocks because of the increases in raw materials costs.

Why It Matters

Sell-offs are important market events. Savvy investors should try to sell a security well before a dramatic sell-off so as not to be the last one holding the stock. At the same time, investors can take advantage of sell-offs, especially broad market sell-offs, to buy fundamentally goods stocks at very affordable prices.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce sell off (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sell-off

US : the sale of a large number of stocks or shares that causes their price to drop
British : the sale of an industry that is owned by the government to private buyers

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sell-off

Nglish: Translation of sell-off for Spanish Speakers

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