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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Idioms for sell

    sell someone a bill of goods, Informal. bill of goods (def. 3).
    sell short. short (def. 49).

Origin of sell

First recorded before 900; Middle English sellen, Old English sellan, originally, “to give,” hence, “to give up (someone) to an enemy, betray, exchange for money”; cognate with Old Norse selja, Low German sellen, Gothic saljan “to give up, sell,” originally, “to cause to take”; akin to Greek heleîn “to take, grasp”

synonym study for sell

1. See trade.


sell·a·ble, adjective

Definition for sell (2 of 2)

[ sel ]
/ sɛl /

noun, adjective, pronoun Scot.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for sell

British Dictionary definitions for sell

/ (sɛl) /

verb sells, selling or sold


the act or an instance of sellingCompare hard sell, soft sell
  1. a trick, hoax, or deception
  2. Irish a great disappointmentthe service in the hotel was a sell

Derived forms of sell

sellable, adjective

Word Origin for sell

Old English sellan to lend, deliver; related to Old Norse selja to sell, Gothic saljan to offer sacrifice, Old High German sellen to sell, Latin cōnsilium advice
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

Idioms and Phrases with sell


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.