Origin of retail

1375–1425; (noun) late Middle English < Anglo-French: a cutting, derivative of retailler to cut, equivalent to re- re- + tailler to cut (see tail2); (v.) Middle English retailen < Old French retailler
Related formsre·tail·er, nounnon·re·tail, adjectivenon·re·tail·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for retailer

retail

noun

the sale of goods individually or in small quantities to consumersCompare wholesale (def. 1)

adjective

of, relating to, or engaged in such sellingretail prices

adverb

in small amounts or at a retail price

verb

to sell or be sold in small quantities to consumers
(rɪˈteɪl) (tr) to relate (gossip, scandal, etc) in detail, esp persistently
Derived Formsretailer, noun

Word Origin for retail

C14: from Old French retaillier to cut off, from re- + taillier to cut; see tailor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for retailer
n.

mid-15c., agent noun from retail (v.).

retail

v.

mid-14c. "sell in small quantities or parcels," from Old French retaillier "cut back, cut off, pare, clip, reduce, circumcise," from re- "back" (see re-) + taillier "to cut, trim" (see tailor (n.)). Sometimes also "to deal out (information, etc.) in small quantities; hand down by report; recount, tell over again" (1590s). Related: Retailed; retailing.

retail

n.

early 15c., "sale of commodities in small quantities or parcels or at second hand" (opposed to wholesale), from Old French retail "piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring" (Modern French retaille), from retaillier (see retail (v.)). The notion of the English word is "a selling by the piece." This sense is not in French, however, and comes perhaps from cognate Italian ritaglio, which does have that sense. As an adjective, "of or pertaining to sale at retail," c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for retailer

retail

A term describing businesses that sell goods directly to individuals. (Compare wholesale.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.