Nearby words

  1. selkirk,
  2. selkirk mountains,
  3. selkirk rex,
  4. selkirk, alexander,
  5. selkirkshire,
  6. sell a bill of goods,
  7. sell down the river,
  8. sell in,
  9. sell like hot cakes,
  10. sell off


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

Origin of sell

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

Related formssell·a·ble, adjective

Synonym study

1. See trade. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for sell up

sell up

verb (adverb) mainly British

(tr) to sell all (the possessions or assets) of (a bankrupt debtor) in order to discharge his debts as far as possible
(intr) to sell a business


verb sells, selling or sold

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
to deal in (objects, property, etc)he sells used cars for a living
(tr) to give up or surrender for a price or rewardto sell one's honour
to promote or facilitate the sale of (objects, property, etc)publicity sells many products
to induce or gain acceptance ofto sell an idea
(intr) to be in demand on the marketthese dresses sell well in the spring
(tr) informal to deceive or cheat
(tr foll by on) to persuade to accept or approve (of)to sell a buyer on a purchase
sell down the river informal to betray
sell oneself
  1. to convince someone else of one's potential or worth
  2. to give up one's moral or spiritual standards, etc
sell short
  1. informalto disparage or belittle
  2. financeto sell securities or goods without owning them in anticipation of buying them before delivery at a lower price


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

Derived Formssellable, 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

Word Origin and History for sell up


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sell up


In addition to the idioms beginning with sell

  • sell a bill of goods
  • sell down the river
  • sell like hot cakes
  • sell off
  • sell oneself
  • sell out
  • sell short
  • sell someone on

also see:

  • hard sell
  • like hot cakes, sell
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.