Definition of oversell in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Sell more of (something) than exists or can be delivered.

    ‘a surge in airlines overselling flights’
    • ‘The company still isn't profitable, but investors are perhaps beginning to think that the shares are oversold.’
    • ‘But while he got as far as the obligatory buck-stops-here mea culpa, he did not confess to the main charge: overselling the weapons.’
    • ‘Also during the showing of the film, the theater operators oversold the capacity of the theater and packed patrons on folding chairs in the aisle.’
    • ‘In many instances, this leads to one company overselling products they can't quite deliver on and then watching as another matches them.’
    • ‘Normally if a flight is oversold, we sometimes have a chance of getting on it, last minute, especially using a higher priority as we chose to use this day.’
    • ‘If you can't, that may be a sign that the flight is full - and if a flight is oversold, passengers without seat assignments usually are at the greatest risk of being denied boarding.’
    • ‘The recovery in the Nasdaq is more a reaction to the market being oversold and cuts in US short-term interest rates.’
    • ‘The bull alert phase is simply a reversal into a new column of X's from below 30% on the chart, and it indicates that the index is oversold and due for a bounce.’
    • ‘Yet Lai and Conita Hung, head of research at Mansion House Securities Ltd., considered Hong Kong stocks were oversold to some extent.’
    • ‘One of the issues that the vendors have been working to overcome is the perception that some have tried to oversell their wares and have created chaos instead of streamlined workflow.’
    • ‘More often than not, the airline has oversold the flight, meaning you don't even have a seat.’
    • ‘Most battered Asian share markets staged a technical rebound Monday with bargain hunters snapping up grossly oversold stocks in anticipation of a rebound in the U.S. markets later in the day.’
    • ‘They have oversold the plane and we have to bribe our way onto it.’
    • ‘Aviation analysts said most airlines oversold tickets up to a certain rate to protect their interests and ensure full occupancy especially in busy season such as summer.’
    • ‘‘Street agents’ eager to take advantage of the naivete of young football players will oversell them on their skills and falsely raise their expectations.’
    • ‘After thinking on Dec.4 that they had confirmed seats on a flight, that airline called back Dec.11 to say the flight was oversold and they had been removed from the passenger list.’
    • ‘They're overselling a product that's selling itself.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the market in which he'd made a career was desperately oversold.’
    • ‘They regularly oversell the number of seats on a given flight.’
    • ‘The only way to get there in time was to fly out of Montreal on an evening flight, but it was oversold.’
    1. 1.1 Exaggerate the merits of.
      ‘computer-aided software engineering has been oversold’
      • ‘From the 1930s until the 1950s, psychoanalysis was oversold, especially in the United States.’
      • ‘We tend to be foisting the blame on the individual here, when I think in your article you said medicine's got to take some of the blame here because we've oversold the benefits of medicine.’
      • ‘While the Xinxiang choir artificially oversold the Aboriginal aspect of some of its songs and there were one or two sour notes, the children's choir really was moving.’
      • ‘The commercial conflicts of interest between rigorous science and advertising claims or editorials that oversell a medicine or treatment demonstrate yet another aspect of the inextricable mix of science with the social world.’
      • ‘Time after time, when they could have oversold the joke, they showed restraint… which, again, is saying something considering how tough some of the gags are.’
      • ‘While future non-lethal technologies may achieve the promises articulated by today's visionaries, the tendency to oversell current capabilities could prove disastrous.’
      • ‘But it is probably fair to say that the benefits are oversold.’
      • ‘Okay, so that oversells it a little, but not by much.’
      • ‘In other words, ID is oversold and underdeveloped.’
      • ‘In our euphoria over the public demonstration of airpower's considerable abilities and accomplishments, we should not oversell it or lose sight of its limitations.’
      • ‘I certainly oversold the enthusiasm my dear wife would feel for hosting an uncle she'd never met.’
      • ‘Some blame high divorce rates in the Bible Belt on a culture that oversells marriage to couples too young to understand the deal.’
      • ‘But the selling point of these films is that they present these contrasts and conflicts within the scene without overselling their respective positions.’
      • ‘The literature of psychotherapy has oversold the concept of healing-through-narrative-construction.’
      • ‘I think you are overselling the wonders of liability in several ways.’
      • ‘What it's saying is that chemotherapy is oversold.’
      • ‘Certainly, some readers might accuse the author of overselling his champion.’
      • ‘This Government continues to oversell its spin on these sorts of amendments to try to get what it wants.’
      • ‘What you'll notice more than at any other time in the history of the show is it is focusing its fervor, intent on not only exploiting a point or political agenda, but also overselling it outright to the audience.’
      • ‘With this disclaimer, the author embarks on another quest to tell the truth about the Christian life ‘without overselling it.’’
      overstate, overemphasize, overstress, overestimate, overvalue, magnify, amplify, aggrandize, inflate
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