[seylz-muh n-ship]
  1. the technique of selling a product: They used a promotional gimmick that was the last word in salesmanship.
  2. adeptness at creating interest in new ideas, products, methods, etc.: The only ingredient lacking in the system was salesmanship.

Origin of salesmanship

1875–80; salesman + -ship; cf. -manship Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for salesmanship

Contemporary Examples of salesmanship

Historical Examples of salesmanship

  • In the field of salesmanship, engineering training is growing in importance.

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • The quality of salesmanship really had nothing to do with the subject-matter.

    The Wall Street Girl

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • And every time I try to say anything about Ernest's salesmanship she takes my head off.

    The Forbidden Trail

    Honor Willsie

  • You have the talent, but you don't have the salesmanship to promote it.

  • A school of salesmanship for women has met with a like success.

    The New Education

    Scott Nearing

British Dictionary definitions for salesmanship


  1. the technique, skill, or ability of selling
  2. the work of a salesman
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 salesmanship

1853, from salesman + -ship.

The modern system of salesmanship has become so much like persecution reduced to a science, that it is quite a luxury to be allowed the use of your own discretion, without being dragooned, by a shopkeeper's deputy, into looking at what you do not care to see, or buying what you would not have. A man in his sane mind, with the usual organs of speech, has a right to be treated as if he knows what he wants, and is able to ask for it. ["The Literary World," Feb. 26, 1853]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper