sell-by date


: a date printed on food packages showing the last day on which the food can be sold
sometimes used figuratively
a theory that has passed its sell-by date [=an outdated theory]

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Sadly, grief has its sell-by date, to some degree—not to the person who is grieving but to other people. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 23 Mar. 2023 Heavy cream, a few days past its sell-by date. Yasmin Tayag, The Atlantic, 30 Nov. 2022 Inevitably, an ensemble of this size leaves some people out in the cold, and Hahn and Odom Jr. both feel underused; the big reveal is less overtly witty than the original and certain punchlines, too, will probably reach their sell-by date before the credits fade. Leah Greenblatt,, 23 Nov. 2022 From Iraq to Ukraine, Kagan may well be one of the most damagingly influential foreign policy intellectuals the United States has produced in our time, helping American exceptionalism survive long past its sell-by date. Samuel Moyn, The New Republic, 14 Feb. 2023 And supermarkets could sue striking deli workers for cold cuts that expire before the sell-by date. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 13 Jan. 2023 Thankfully, eggs have a surprisingly long shelf life if kept in a fridge — up to five weeks after their sell-by date. Megan Schmidt, Discover Magazine, 7 Feb. 2020 Talent knows no age limit, but inspiration often has a sell-by date. Jody Rosen, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2022 Hahn was allowed to hire pitching coach Ethan Katz after the 2020 season to replace Don Cooper, whose sell-by date had been extended for years by Hahn and Williams. Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 23 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1971, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sell-by date was in 1971

Dictionary Entries Near sell-by date

Cite this Entry

“Sell-by date.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

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