Language: Old English
Origin: sellan


sell S1 W1 past tense and past participle sold

give something for money

[intransitive and transitive]BB to give something to someone in exchange for money [≠ buy]:
If you offer him another hundred, I think he'll sell.
He regrets selling all his old records.
sell something for £100/$50/30p etc
Toni's selling her car for £700.
sell somebody something
I won't sell you my shares!
sell something to somebody
The vase was sold to a Dutch buyer.
sell something at a profit/loss (=make or lose money on a sale)
Tony had to sell the business at a loss.

make something available

[intransitive and transitive]BB to offer something for people to buy:
Do you sell cigarettes?
a job selling advertising space
sell at/for £100/$50/30p etc (=be offered for sale at £100/$50/30p etc)
Smoke alarms sell for as little as five pounds.

make somebody want something

[transitive] to make people want to buy something:
Scandal sells newspapers.
sell something to somebody
The car's new design will help sell it to consumers.

be bought

[intransitive and transitive]BB to be bought by people:
Tickets for the concert just aren't selling.
Her last book sold millions of copies.
All the new houses have been sold.
sell well/badly (=be bought by a lot of people, or very few people)
Anti-age creams always sell well.

sell like hot cakes

to sell quickly and in large amounts


[intransitive and transitive] to try to make someone accept a new idea or plan, or to become accepted:
It's all right for Washington, but will it sell in small-town America?
sell something to somebody
It's hard for any government to sell new taxes to the electorate.
sell somebody something
managers selling employees the new working hours
be sold on (doing) something (=think an idea or plan is very good)
Joe's completely sold on the concept.

sell yourself

a) to make yourself seem impressive to other people:
If you want a promotion, you've got to sell yourself better.
b) also sell your body to have sex with someone for money

sell somebody/something short

to not give someone or something the praise, attention, or reward that they deserve:
Don't sell yourself short - tell them about all your qualifications.

sell your soul (to the devil)

to agree to do something bad in exchange for money, power etc

sell somebody down the river

to do something that harms a group of people who trusted you, in order to gain money or power for yourself

sell your vote

American English to take money from someone who wants you to vote for a particular person or plan

sell something ↔ off

phrasal verb
1 to sell something, especially for a cheap price, because you need the money or because you want to get rid of it:
After the war, we had to sell off part of the farm.
We sell off leftover cakes before we close.
2BB to sell all or part of an industry or company:
The Leicestershire company has sold off many of its smaller branches to cut debts.

sell out

phrasal verb
1BBT if a shop sells out of something, it has no more of that particular thing left to sell
be/have sold out
Sorry, we're sold out.
sell out of
We've completely sold out of those shirts in your size, sir.
2AP if products, tickets for an event etc sell out, they are all sold and there are none left:
Wow! Those cakes sold out fast.
be/have sold out
Tonight's performance is completely sold out.
3 to change your beliefs or principles, especially in order to get more money or some other advantage - used to show disapproval:
ex-hippies who've sold out and become respectable businessmen
4BFS to sell your business or your share in a business:
Wyman says he'll sell out if business doesn't pick up.
sell out to
The T-mail Co. has sold out to San Jose-based DMX Inc for an undisclosed sum.

sell up

phrasal verb
to sell most of what you own, especially your house or your business:
Liz decided to sell up and move abroad.


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