[ seylz-gurl ]
/ ˈseɪlzˌgɜrl /
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a woman who sells goods, especially in a store; saleswoman.
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Origin of salesgirl

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90; sales + girl
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does salesgirl mean?

Salesgirl was once commonly used as another word for saleswoman—a woman whose job is to sell products or services.

Though salesgirl may still be used, and some saleswomen may apply the term to themselves, salesgirl is often considered outdated and demeaning due to the use of the word girl when such workers are usually women. The same is the case for the synonym shopgirl.

The sales in salesgirl and saleswoman refers to the type of occupation or the division or department within a company. The terms salesgirl and saleslady (a less common synonym for saleswoman) are especially associated with women who work in retail stores, as opposed to those who work as saleswomen in other settings.

The terms salesclerk, salesperson, and sales rep (or sales representative) can be used to mean the same thing without specifying gender.

Where does salesgirl come from?

The first records of the word salesgirl come from the 1880s. The word saleswoman, which is now much more common, is recorded earlier, around 1700. It’s formed with the ending -woman, which is used in many other terms that specify occupation, such as businesswoman and spokeswoman. The ending -girl is used in common words like schoolgirl and cowgirl, but schoolgirl always refers to girls, as opposed to women, and cowgirl is modeled after the word cowboy.

Salesgirl is especially associated with women who work at retail stores and especially at sales counters, such as those in department stores. While in some cases the people referred to as salesgirls may be teenagers, the term has traditionally been applied regardless of age.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for salesgirl?

What are some words that share a root or word element with salesgirl

What are some words that often get used in discussing salesgirl?

How is salesgirl used in real life?

Salesgirl is often considered demeaning and is used less commonly than it used to be.

How to use salesgirl in a sentence