American English

Definition of sell verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they sell
    he / she / it sells
    past simple sold
    -ing form selling
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    exchange for money
  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] to give something to someone in exchange for money sell something (to somebody) (for something) I sold my car to James for $1,800. sell somebody something (for something) I sold James my car for $1,800. sell (something) (at something) They sold the business at a profit/loss (= they gained/lost money when they sold it). We offered them a good price but they wouldn't sell.
  2. offer for sale
  3. 2[transitive] sell something to offer something for people to buy Most supermarkets sell a selection of organic products. Do you sell stamps? to sell insurance compare cross-selling
  4. be bought
  5. 3[transitive, intransitive] to be bought by people in the way or in the numbers mentioned; to be offered at the price mentioned sell (something) The magazine sells 300,000 copies a week. Their last album sold millions. The book sold well and was reprinted many times. The new design just didn't sell (= nobody bought it). sell for/at something The pens sell for just $1.50 each.
  6. persuade
  7. 4[intransitive, transitive] to make people want to buy something You may not like it but advertising sells. sell something It is quality not price that sells our products.
  8. 5[transitive] sell something/yourself (to somebody) to persuade someone that something is a good idea, service, product, etc.; to persuade someone that you are the right person for a job, position, etc. Now we have to try and sell the idea to management. You really have to sell yourself at a job interview.
  9. take money/reward
  10. 6[transitive] sell yourself (to somebody) (disapproving) to accept money or a reward from someone for doing something that is against your principles synonym prostitute see also sale
  11. Idioms
    be sold on something (informal)
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    to be very enthusiastic about something He wasn't sold on the idea.
    go/sell like hot cakes
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    to sell quickly or in great numbers
    sell your body
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    to have sex with someone in exchange for money
    sell somebody down the river (informal)
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    to give poor or unfair treatment to someone you have promised to help From the custom of buying and selling slaves on the plantations on the Mississippi river. Slaves who caused trouble for their masters could be sold to plantation owners lower down the river, where conditions would be worse.
    sell somebody/yourself short
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    to not value someone/yourself highly enough and show this by the way you treat or present them/yourself
    sell your soul (to the devil)
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    to do anything, even something bad or dishonest, in return for money, success, or power
    Phrasal Verbssell somethingoffsell somebody on somethingsell outsell out (of something)sell out (to somebody/something)sell somebodyout
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sell