Definition of sell in English:

sell

Pronunciation /sel/ /sɛl/

See synonyms for sell

Translate sell into Spanish

transitive verbsold

[with object]
  • 1Give or hand over (something) in exchange for money.

    ‘they had sold the car’
    • ‘the family business had been sold off’
    • ‘I was trying to sell him my butterfly collection’
    vending, selling off, auctioning, trading, trade, trade in
    salesmanship, sales, marketing, merchandising, promotion, advertising
    dispose of, get rid of, vend, auction, auction off
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    1. 1.1Have a stock of (something) available for sale.
      • ‘the store sells hi-fis, TVs, videos, and other electrical goods’
      trade in, deal in, be in the business of, traffic in, stock, carry, offer for sale, handle, peddle, hawk, retail, market, advertise, promote
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    2. 1.2no object Be purchased in specified amounts or for a specified price.
      ‘the album sold 6 million copies in the United States’
      • ‘this magazine of yours won't sell’
      • ‘these antiques of the future sell for about $375’
      be bought, be purchased, go
      be priced at, sell at, retail at, go for, be, be found for, be trading at, cost
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    3. 1.3sell outno object Sell all of one's stock of something.
      • ‘they had nearly sold out of the initial run of 75,000 copies’
      have none left, be out of stock of, have run out of, have sold all one's …
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    4. 1.4sell outno object Be all sold.
      • ‘it was clear that the performances would not sell out’
      be bought up, be depleted, be exhausted
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    5. 1.5sell throughno object (of a product) be purchased by a customer from a retail outlet.
    6. 1.6sell upBritish no object Sell all of one's property, possessions, or assets.
      • ‘Ernest sold up and retired’
    7. 1.7sell oneselfHave sex in exchange for money.
      • ‘if she was going to sell herself then it would be as well not to come too cheap’
    8. 1.8sell outno object Abandon one's principles for reasons of expedience.
      • ‘the prime minister has come under fire for selling out to the United States’
      abandon one's principles, prostitute oneself, sell one's soul, betray one's cause, betray one's ideals, be untrue to oneself, go over to the other side, play false, sacrifice oneself, debase oneself, degrade oneself, demean oneself
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    9. 1.9sell someone outBetray someone for one's own benefit.
      • ‘the clansmen became tenants and the chiefs sold them out’
      betray, inform against, inform on
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    10. 1.10archaic Offer (something) dishonorably for money or other reward.
      • ‘do not your lawyers sell all their practice, as your priests their prayers?’
  • 2Persuade someone of the merits of.

    ‘he sold the idea of making a film about Tchaikovsky’
    • ‘he just won't sell himself’
    persuade someone to accept, convince someone of the merits of, talk someone into, bring someone round to, win someone over to, get acceptance for, win approval for, get support for, get across, promote
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    1. 2.1Be the reason for (something) being bought.
      • ‘what sells CDs to most people is convenience’
    2. 2.2Cause (someone) to become enthusiastic about.
      • ‘I'm just not sold on the idea’
      persuade someone to accept, convince someone of the merits of, talk someone into, bring someone round to, win someone over to, get acceptance for, win approval for, get support for, get across, promote
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  • 3archaic Trick or deceive (someone)

    • ‘what we want is to go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the rest of the town’
    deceive, delude, hoodwink, mislead, take in, dupe, fool, double-cross, cheat, defraud, swindle, outwit, outmanoeuvre, catch out, gull, hoax, bamboozle, beguile
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noun

informal
  • 1An act of selling or attempting to sell something.

    • ‘the excitement of scientific achievement is too subtle a sell to stir the public’
  • 2British A disappointment, typically one arising from being deceived as to the merits of something.

    • ‘actually, Hawaii's a bit of a sell—not a patch on Corfu’

Phrases

    sell one's soul
    • Do or be willing to do anything, no matter how wrong, in order to achieve one's objective.

      • ‘it is very easy to get to the top of any employment structure if you are prepared to sell your soul’
    sell one's life dearly
    • Cause great injury or loss to an enemy or assailant before being killed.

      • ‘the soldiers had sold their lives dearly, for a great many Germans had died too’

Origin

Old English sellan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse selja ‘give up, sell’. Early use included the sense ‘give, hand (something) over voluntarily in response to a request’.