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sell (sĕl)
v. sold (sōld), sell·ing, sells
1. To exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent: We sold our old car for a modest sum.
2. To offer or have available for sale: The store sells health foods.
3. To give up or surrender in exchange for a price or reward: sell one's soul to the devil.
4. To be purchased in (a certain quantity); achieve sales of: a book that sold a million copies.
a. To bring about or encourage sales of; promote: Good publicity sold the product.
b. To cause to be accepted; advocate successfully: We sold the proposal to the school committee.
6. To persuade (another) to recognize the worth or desirability of something: They sold me on the idea.
1. To exchange ownership for money or its equivalent; engage in selling: Are any of the fruit vendors still selling?
2. To be sold or be on sale: Grapes are selling high this season.
3. To attract prospective buyers; be popular on the market: an item that doesn't sell.
4. To be approved of; gain acceptance: an idea that just wouldn't sell.
1. An act or instance of selling: ordered a sell of his shares in the company.
2. Something that sells or gains acceptance in a particular way: Their program to raise taxes will be a difficult sell.
3. Slang A deception; a hoax.
Phrasal Verbs:
sell off
To get rid of by selling, often at reduced prices.
sell out
1. To sell all of a supply of something: We have sold out of that model.
2. To cause (someone) to have sold an entire supply of something: The bakery is sold out of those pastries.
3. To be entirely sold: Her new novel has sold out.
4. Slang To betray one's principles or colleagues: He sold out to the other side.
sell through
To be purchased as a retail item by a customer: The clothes are in the store, but they aren't selling through.
sell a bill of goods Informal
To take unfair advantage of.
sell down the river Informal
To betray the trust or faith of.
sell short
1. To contract for the sale of securities or commodities one expects to own at a later date and at more advantageous terms.
2. To underestimate the true value or worth of: Don't sell your colleague short; she's a smart lawyer.

[Middle English sellen, from Old English sellan, to give, sell.]

sella·ble adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.