the business of selling to retailers, especially in large quantities (distinguished from retailing).

Origin of wholesaling

First recorded in 1790–1800; wholesale + -ing1




the sale of goods in quantity, as to retailers or jobbers, for resale (opposed to retail).


of, relating to, or engaged in sale by wholesale.
extensive; broadly indiscriminate: wholesale discharge of workers.


in a wholesale way; on wholesale terms: I can get it for you wholesale.
in large quantities; on a large scale, especially without discrimination: Wild horses were slaughtered wholesale.

verb (used with or without object), whole·saled, whole·sal·ing.

to sell by wholesale.

Origin of wholesale

1375–1425; late Middle English, from the phrase by hole sale in gross; see whole, sale
Related formswhole·sal·er, noun

Synonyms for wholesale

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wholesaling

Historical Examples of wholesaling

  • Each Forest is going to be a big and complicated business, like railroading or wholesaling.

    The Rules of the Game

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for wholesaling



the business of selling goods to retailers in larger quantities than they are sold to final consumers but in smaller quantities than they are purchased from manufacturersCompare retail (def. 1)
at wholesale
  1. in large quantities
  2. at wholesale prices


of, relating to, or engaged in such business
made, done, etc, on a large scale or without discrimination


on a large scale or without discrimination


to sell (goods) at wholesale
Derived Formswholesaler, noun
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 wholesaling


early 15c., "in large quantities," from whole + sale; the general sense of "extensive" is attested from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wholesaling in Culture


The sale of merchandise to retailers rather than directly to the public.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.