[ ree-teyl for 1-4, 6; ri-teyl for 5 ]
See synonyms for: retailretailing on

  1. the sale of goods to ultimate consumers, usually in small quantities (opposed to wholesale).

  1. pertaining to, connected with, or engaged in sale at retail: the retail price.

  1. in a retail quantity or at a retail price.

verb (used with object)
  1. to sell at retail; sell directly to the consumer.

  2. to relate or repeat in detail to others: to retail scandal.

verb (used without object)
  1. to be sold at retail: It retails at 50 cents.

Origin of retail

First recorded in 1375–1425; (for the noun) late Middle English, from Anglo-French: “a cut,” derivative of retailler “to cut,” from re- re- + tailler “to cut” (see tail2); (for the verb) Middle English retailen, from Old French retailler

Other words from retail

  • re·tail·er, noun
  • non·re·tail, adjective
  • non·re·tail·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use retail in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for retail


/ (ˈriːteɪl) /

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

  1. of, relating to, or engaged in such selling: retail prices

  1. in small amounts or at a retail price

  1. to sell or be sold in small quantities to consumers

  2. (rɪˈteɪl) (tr) to relate (gossip, scandal, etc) in detail, esp persistently

Origin of retail

C14: from Old French retaillier to cut off, from re- + taillier to cut; see tailor

Derived forms of retail

  • retailer, noun

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

Cultural definitions for 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.