View synonyms for sell



[ sel ]

verb (used with object)

, sold, sell·ing.
  1. to transfer (goods) to or render (services) for another in exchange for money; dispose of to a purchaser for a price:

    He sold the car to me for $1000.

    Synonyms: vend, exchange

    Antonyms: buy

  2. to deal in; keep or offer for sale:

    He sells insurance. This store sells my favorite brand.

  3. to make a sale or offer for sale to:

    He'll sell me the car for $1000.

  4. to persuade or induce (someone) to buy something:

    The salesman sold me on a more expensive model than I wanted.

  5. to persuade or induce someone to buy (something):

    The clerk really sold the shoes to me by flattery.

  6. to make sales of:

    The hot record sold a million copies this month.

  7. to cause to be accepted, especially generally or widely:

    to sell an idea to the public.

  8. to cause or persuade to accept; convince:

    to sell the voters on a candidate.

  9. to accept a price for or make a profit of (something not a proper object for such action):

    to sell one's soul for political power.

  10. to force or exact a price for:

    The defenders of the fort sold their lives dearly.

  11. Informal. to cheat, betray, or hoax.

verb (used without object)

, sold, sell·ing.
  1. to engage in selling something:

    Investment advisors agree that it’s time to sell.

  2. to be sold; to draw sales: The game sold poorly in Japan.

    His album is selling well.

    The game sold poorly in Japan.

  3. to offer something for sale:

    I like this house—will they sell?

  4. to be employed to persuade or induce others to buy, as a salesperson or a clerk in a store:

    One sister is a cashier and the other sells.

  5. to have a specific price; be offered for sale at the price indicated (followed by at or for ):

    Eggs used to sell at sixty cents a dozen. This shirt sells for thirty dollars.

  6. to be in demand by buyers:

    On a rainy day, umbrellas really sell.

  7. to win acceptance, approval, or adoption:

    Here's an idea that'll sell.


  1. an act or method of selling:

    Your home could be a profitable sell.

  2. Stock Exchange. a security to be sold.
  3. Informal. a cheat; hoax.

verb phrase

    1. to dispose of entirely by selling:

      They sold out of Johnny's brownies before the bake sale was half over.

    2. to betray (an associate, one's country, one’s principles, a cause, etc.):

      He would never sell out to the enemy.

  1. British. to sell out:

    She was forced to sell up her entire stock of crystal.

  2. to sell, especially at reduced prices, in order to get rid of:

    The city is selling off a large number of small lots at public auction.



[ sel ]


, Scot.


/ sɛl /


  1. to dispose of or transfer or be disposed of or transferred to a purchaser in exchange for money or other consideration; put or be on sale
  2. to deal in (objects, property, etc)

    he sells used cars for a living

  3. tr to give up or surrender for a price or reward

    to sell one's honour

  4. to promote or facilitate the sale of (objects, property, etc)

    publicity sells many products

  5. to induce or gain acceptance of

    to sell an idea

  6. intr to be in demand on the market

    these dresses sell well in the spring

  7. informal.
    tr to deceive or cheat
  8. trfoll byon to persuade to accept or approve (of)

    to sell a buyer on a purchase

  9. sell down the river informal.
    to betray
  10. sell oneself
    1. to convince someone else of one's potential or worth
    2. to give up one's moral or spiritual standards, etc
  11. sell short
    1. to disparage or belittle
    2. finance to sell securities or goods without owning them in anticipation of buying them before delivery at a lower price


  1. the act or an instance of selling Compare hard sell soft sell
  2. informal.
    1. a trick, hoax, or deception
    2. a great disappointment

      the service in the hotel was a sell

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Derived Forms

  • ˈsellable, adjective

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Other Words From

  • sell·a·ble adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sell1

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”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sell1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. sell someone a bill of goods, Informal. bill of goods ( def 3 ).
  2. sell short. short ( def 50 ).

More idioms and phrases containing sell

  • hard sell
  • like hot cakes, sell

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Synonym Study

See trade.

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Example Sentences

On Earth, claiming that an environment is lifeless is a tough scientific sell.

Big Tech has made that a hard sell in America, simply because the companies have created so much value for consumers.

At the full retail price of $249, these can be a tough sell.

So it wasn’t a hard sell when the North Face asked Chin, who has been sponsored by the company for 20 years, to colead its new Explore Fund Council.

This will be a hard sell for many minorities who already have low homeownership rates, in large part because of housing discrimination.

The Dallas Cowboys sell out their state-of-the art football stadium.

As more people come online, the most basic tasks—such as going out to the market to sell produce—will become more efficient.

Along the Prado they used to sell slaves on the auction block, too.

As for the political class, I doubt I need to give you a very hard sell on its failure.

Question 9: If the female captive was impregnated by her owner, can he then sell her?

He couldn't sell them; he couldn't burn them; he was even compelled to insure them, to his intense disgust.

Those four pictures—I would not sell those four Watteaus for one hundred thousand francs.

He thought these things over carefully and finally decided that he would sell them himself.

For an Indian to sell a horse and wagon in the San Jacinto valley was not an easy thing, unless he would give them away.

For us to take her place it became necessary for us to loan before we could sell and buy.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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