[ seylz-woom-uhn ]
/ ˈseɪlzˌwʊm ən /
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noun, plural sales·wom·en.
a woman who sells goods, services, etc.
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Origin of saleswoman

First recorded in 1695–1705; sales + woman

usage note for saleswoman

See -woman.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does saleswoman mean?

A saleswoman is a woman whose job is to sell products or services.

The plural of saleswoman is saleswomen. A less common term for saleswoman is saleslady. The equivalent term for a man is salesman. Both salesman and saleswoman are commonly used, but salesperson and sales rep (or sales representative) are often used in their place.

A saleswoman is often said to “work in sales”—in which sales refers to the type of occupation or the division or department within a company.

A saleswoman can sell directly to customers or to other businesses or organizations. Sometimes, saleswomen sell things in person, such as at a retail store or dealership. They also commonly sell things over the phone or by communicating with people online. In the past, it was common for some salespeople to travel door-to-door to make sales to people at home, leading to the term door-to-door salesman and, less commonly, door-to-door saleswoman.

A saleswoman who has to travel as part of her job can be called a traveling saleswoman.

The word saleswoman is sometimes used in a somewhat figurative way to refer to a woman who’s skilled at persuading people, especially in a business or professional setting, as if they are selling them a product. This skill or quality can be called saleswomanship, but the term salesmanship is much more common and is often applied regardless of gender.

Example: The saleswoman told me that this was the best deal she could give me.

Where does saleswoman come from?

The first records of the word saleswoman come from around 1700. It’s formed with the ending -woman, which is used in many other terms that specify occupation, such as businesswoman and spokeswoman. This ending can be replaced with -man or the gender-neutral -person, as in salesman and salesperson.

The job of a saleswoman is to sell, and to sell they have to convince the customer to buy. For this reason, saleswomen have a reputation for sometimes being aggressive or putting pressure on the customer, especially in retail settings, like furniture or electronics stores. Also contributing to this reputation is the fact that some saleswomen are at least partly paid on commission—a percentage of sales that goes into their pay. Of course, this reputation isn’t always warranted—a lot of saleswomen genuinely want to help you find the right product.

Still, a lot of people try to avoid saleswomen when shopping due to feeling pressured. Relatedly, the term used car salesman is sometimes used in a figurative way to refer to someone considered a smooth-talking swindler. (Used car saleswoman can be used, but used car salesman is more often applied regardless of gender.)

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What are some other forms related to saleswoman

  • saleswomen (plural)

What are some synonyms for saleswoman?

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

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

How is saleswoman used in real life?

Saleswoman is a neutral term, but saleswomen may be viewed positively or negatively, based on a person’s experience with them.



Try using saleswoman!

Which of the following terms can be used as a synonym for saleswoman?

A. sales rep
B. sales representative
C. salesperson
D. all of the above

How to use saleswoman in a sentence