the act of a person who shops.
the facilities or merchandise available to those who shop: Chicago has good shopping.


of, for, or pertaining to examining and buying merchandise: a shopping trip.

Origin of shopping

First recorded in 1755–65; shop + -ing1, -ing2




a retail store, especially a small one.
a small store or department in a large store selling a specific or select type of goods: the ski shop at Smith's.
the workshop of a craftsperson or artisan.
the workshop of a person who works in a manual trade; place for doing specific, skilled manual work: a carpenter's shop.
any factory, office, or business: Our ad agency is a well-run shop.
  1. a course of instruction in a trade, as carpentry, printing, etc., consisting chiefly of training in the use of its tools and materials.
  2. a classroom in which such a course is given.
one's trade, profession, or business as a subject of conversation or preoccupation.

verb (used without object), shopped, shop·ping.

to visit shops and stores for purchasing or examining goods.
to seek or examine goods, property, etc., offered for sale: Retail merchants often stock their stores by shopping in New York.
to seek a bargain, investment, service, etc. (usually followed by for): I'm shopping for a safe investment that pays good interest.

verb (used with object), shopped, shop·ping.

to seek or examine goods, property, etc., offered for sale in or by: She's shopping the shoe stores this afternoon.
Chiefly British Informal.
  1. to put into prison; jail.
  2. to behave treacherously toward; inform on; betray.
Slang. to try to sell (merchandise or a project) in an attempt to obtain an order or contract.


(used in a store, shop, etc., in calling an employee to wait on a customer.)


    set up shop, to go into business; begin business operations: to set up shop as a taxidermist.
    shut up shop,
    1. to close a business temporarily, as at the end of the day.
    2. to suspend business operations permanently: They couldn't make a go of it and had to shut up shop.
    talk shop, to discuss one's trade, profession, or business: After dinner we all sat around the table and talked shop.

Origin of shop

1250–1300; Middle English shoppe (noun), Old English sceoppa booth; akin to scypen stall, shippon, German Schopf lean-to, Schuppen shed
Related formsin·ter·shop, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for shopping

spending, e-commerce, browsing

Examples from the Web for shopping

Contemporary Examples of shopping

Historical Examples of shopping

British Dictionary definitions for shopping



a number or collection of articles purchased
the act or an instance of making purchases



a place, esp a small building, for the retail sale of goods and services
an act or instance of shopping, esp household shoppingthe weekly shop
a place for the performance of a specified type of work; workshop
all over the shop informal
  1. in disarrayhis papers were all over the shop
  2. in every directionI've searched for it all over the shop
shut up shop
  1. to close business at the end of the day or permanently
  2. to become defensive or inactive
talk shop to speak about one's work, esp when meeting socially, sometimes with the effect of excluding those not similarly employed

verb shops, shopping or shopped

(intr often foll by for) to visit a shop or shops in search of (goods) with the intention of buying them
(tr) slang, mainly British to inform on or betray, esp to the police

Word Origin for shop

Old English sceoppa stall, booth; related to Old High German scopf shed, Middle Dutch schoppe stall
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 shopping

1764, "act or practice of visiting shops," verbal noun from shop (v.). Meaning "goods that have been purchased" is from 1934. Shopping bag attested from 1886; shopping list from 1913.



c.1300, "booth or shed for trade or work," perhaps from Old English scoppa, a rare word of uncertain meaning, apparently related to scypen "cowshed," from Proto-Germanic *skoppan "small additional structure" (cf. Old High German scopf "building without walls, porch," German dialectal Scopf "porch, cart-shed, barn," German Schuppen "a shed"), from root *skupp-. Or the Middle English word was acquired from Old French eschoppe "booth, stall" (Modern French échoppe), which is a Germanic loan-word from the same root.

Meaning "building or room set aside for sale of merchandise" is from mid-14c. Meaning "schoolroom equipped for teaching vocational arts" is from 1914, American English. Sense of "matters pertaining to one's trade" is from 1814 (as in talk shop (v.), 1860).



1680s, "to bring something to a shop, to expose for sale," from shop (n.). The meaning "to visit shops for the purpose of examining or purchasing goods" is first attested 1764. Related: Shopped; shopping. Shop around is from 1922. Shopping cart is recorded from 1956; shopping list first attested 1913; transferred and figurative use is from 1959.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with shopping


In addition to the idiom beginning with shop

  • shop around

also see:

  • bull in a china shop
  • close up (shop)
  • set up (shop)
  • shut up (shop)
  • talk shop
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.