Definition of sell verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//sel//
    ; NAmE NAmE//sel//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they sell
    BrE BrE//sel//
    ; NAmE NAmE//sel//
    he / she / it sells
    BrE BrE//selz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//selz//
    past simple sold
    BrE BrE//səʊld//
    ; NAmE NAmE//soʊld//
    past participle sold
    BrE BrE//səʊld//
    ; NAmE NAmE//soʊld//
    -ing form selling
    BrE BrE//ˈselɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈselɪŋ//
    Marketing, Buying a home
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    exchange for money
  1. 1  [transitive, intransitive] to give something to somebody in exchange for money sell something (to somebody) (for something) I sold my car to James for £800. sell somebody something (for something) I sold James my car for £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. See related entries: Marketing, Buying a home
  2. offer for sale
  3. 2  [transitive] sell something to offer something for people to buy Most supermarkets sell a range 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 50p 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 somebody that something is a good idea, service, product, etc.; to persuade somebody 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 somebody for doing something that is against your principles synonym prostitute
  11. see also sale
    Word OriginOld English sellan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse selja ‘give up, sell’. Early use included the sense ‘give, hand (something) over voluntarily following a request’. More Like This Verbs with two objects bet, bring, build, buy, cost, get, give, leave, lend, make, offer, owe, pass, pay, play, post, promise, read, refuse, sell, send, show, sing, take, teach, tell, throw, wish, writeSee worksheet. Extra examplesIt will be hard to sell 3 000 tickets. Many banks are willing to buy and sell shares on behalf of customers. She sold her car to a friend. Some of these cars are actually being sold at a loss. The company has been forced to sell land to recoup some of the losses. The novel was expected to sell between 1 000 and 1 500 copies. The painting was sold at auction for $11.3 million. The property proved hard to sell. They are still trying to sell their house. They sold their house for $847 000. This medicine is sold over the counter. We sell these little notebooks at €1 each. Your broker has the right to sell your shares. He works for a company that sells insurance. Most grocery stores sell a range of organic products. They sold the business at a profit/​loss. We offered them a good price but they wouldn’t sell.Idioms (informal) to be very enthusiastic about something We were really sold on the idea. to sell quickly or in great numbers to have sex with somebody in exchange for money
    sell somebody down the river
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    (informal) to give poor or unfair treatment to somebody you have promised to help From the custom of buying and selling slaves on the plantations on the Mississippi River in America. Slaves who caused trouble for their masters could be sold to plantation owners lower down the river, where conditions would be worse.
    sell somebody/buy a pup
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    (old-fashioned, British English, informal) to sell somebody or be sold something that has no value or is worth much less than the price paid
    sell somebody/yourself short
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    to not value somebody/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 somethingonsell outsell out (of something)sell outsell up
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sell