Definition of sell in English:

sell

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Give or hand over (something) in exchange for money.

    ‘they had sold the car’
    ‘the family business had been sold off’
    with two objects ‘I was trying to sell him my butterfly collection’
    • ‘The dresser was sold to a private buyer in the ‘north country’.’
    • ‘To clarify, I don't mind waiting until all the puppies are sold to collect money.’
    • ‘It was a brand new, clean memory stick when it was sold to a reputable dealer.’
    • ‘A special leather-bound edition will be sold to raise money for emergency workers and their families.’
    • ‘The products are then sold to various clients, including farmers, the forestry commission, local authorities and garden centres.’
    • ‘One phone was sold to the stallholders just 40 minutes after it had been stolen from its owner while another phone was taken from a car while the driver was at a funeral.’
    • ‘It was sold to a private collector at the auction.’
    • ‘The filly was sold to a private breeder for a large amount of money.’
    • ‘‘Consider restricting your opening hours or employ a strict policy as to whom alcohol is sold to,’ she advised.’
    • ‘He made his money selling car stickers in a business which became the second biggest in the world.’
    • ‘Is the site being sold to make money for Hackney council?’
    • ‘But she stopped short of confirming that she would refuse an export licence if the Doncaster-built locomotive was sold to a foreign buyer.’
    • ‘But as property prices soar and demand for second homes rises, unprofitable sporting estates are worth more when broken up and assets are sold off.’
    • ‘When the first edition was sold out, the rights in the book were sold to a mainstream trade publisher, who issued it with revisions and a slightly altered title.’
    • ‘As the Depression deepened, farmers across the Midwest began to gather at farms being sold off to break up the proceedings.’
    • ‘Regardless of which site is chosen, the present further education site is to be sold to raise money for the development.’
    • ‘If it was sold to a developer, a considerable amount of money could change hands.’
    • ‘Although international donors encouraged the sale, the government failed to explain where the money went, or whom the grain was sold to.’
    • ‘The leasing driver has the chance to buy the car outright, renegotiate a lease, or they are sold to a car auction.’
    • ‘His collection was sold off and dispersed in 1936, examples going to the Museum of London, Tower of London and York Castle Museum.’
    1. 1.1 Have a stock of (something) available for sale.
      ‘the store sells hi-fis, TVs, videos, and other electrical goods’
      • ‘In my outline of the different venues available to sell your work I have not mentioned books or magazines.’
      • ‘Attack the stores and retailers selling undesirable ice cream.’
      • ‘Perhaps you are a salesperson or sales executive responsible for selling goods or products for one or many companies.’
      • ‘Sizes go up to only 16, but the site sells ranges not available in smaller stores.’
      • ‘Specialist hi-fi stores do sell the high end famous brands as well: Toshiba, Sony, Pioneer, Marantz.’
      • ‘You know my supplements are sold on my Web site and they're also sold in retail stores like Whole Foods.’
      • ‘They said the park's units were only supposed to be available for retailers selling bulky items such as carpets, furniture and electrical white goods.’
      • ‘I carried on looking at different shops selling their wares.’
      • ‘We are going into every retail store that sells the shirts and removing them.’
      • ‘It seems that a company called Brands on Sale, which sells children's Halloween costumes, is now marketing wizard costumes for boys and witch costumes for girls.’
      • ‘Mixtures containing these are available from companies selling spices and seasonings.’
      • ‘Is it showing how you can help someone or the stereotype of the pushy, obnoxious sales associate selling a service or product for which you have no need?’
      • ‘That means stocking, promoting and selling hunting products.’
      • ‘I would also deliver items to stores where people worked to stock and sell them.’
      • ‘Our stock is small simply because supermarkets sell popular books cheaper than we can buy them.’
      • ‘The store sells clothing, household goods, small furniture and garden implements.’
      • ‘This interesting business opportunity, often using the web as a sales forum, sells ex-company cars, lease cars and PCP cars direct to the public and to employees.’
      • ‘He says the stores that sell them are running stock clearance sales just now and they're to be had for a good price.’
      • ‘We create a sales force that actually sells those products.’
      • ‘Active SCSI terminators are available at any PC store that sells SCSI devices.’
    2. 1.2no object (of a thing) be purchased.
      ‘this magazine of yours won't sell’
      • ‘Had it sold at that price, it would have been the granite city's most expensive ever house.’
      • ‘These were difficult to obtain on the open market and sold at premium prices.’
      • ‘Both were sold at below purchase price as part of a deck - clearing exercise, causing a few raised eyebrows in the City.’
      • ‘Second-hand clothing from the United States, sold at bargain prices, has become popular.’
      • ‘In June last year, a similar ticket sold at auction at Sotheby's in London raised a staggering £2,760.’
      • ‘The freshest herring was salted and sold at good prices for human consumption.’
      • ‘A Van Gogh self-portrait sold at auction in New York in 1998 for $71 million.’
      • ‘If I sold at that price there is nowhere in the country I could get something similar.’
      • ‘They also (surprising to me) found that pink tomatoes sold at a higher price than the red ones.’
      • ‘They are more than dumb pieces of suede, fashioned by Spanish craftsmen and sold at a bargain price in a long forgotten shoe shop in Sevilla.’
      • ‘The applications come from IBM and other vendors, and can be bundled and sold at a compelling price.’
      • ‘Increased demand may simply mean the same quantity sold at a higher price, or even a smaller quantity at a still higher price.’
      • ‘Loads of members, loads of rare goods all sold at great low prices.’
      • ‘A medal awarded to a 19th Century Bolton soldier has sold at auction for almost three times more than it was expected to fetch.’
      • ‘Had Mr Power sold at the price offered to him by institutions last week, he would have had £12m in his pocket.’
      • ‘It sold at the rate of a thousand copies a day in its first few weeks.’
      • ‘Not only is gas cheaper than ever, once adjusted for inflation, but it is also frequently sold at a price similar to a liter of water.’
      • ‘Our £200,000 appeal is so that Socialist Worker can be bought, read and sold at a price workers and students can afford.’
      • ‘Coal continues to be subsidized, dug out of the ground and sold at unbelievably low prices.’
      • ‘But when it came to houses sold at 2 million or more, the London borough of Richmond jumped one place to number five in the country.’
    3. 1.3 (of a publication or recording) attain sales of (a specified number of copies)
      ‘the album sold 6 million copies in the U.S’
      • ‘Even if the album sells the 300,000 copies needed for Sony BMG to recoup their cash, the band have no contractual obligation to the label.’
      • ‘The game is scorching the PC game sales charts, with over a million copies sold already.’
      • ‘His recordings sell in the tens, and proceeds from live performances are equally paltry.’
      • ‘With some issues now selling more than 200,000 copies, it is only a matter of time, she adds, before established titles feel the pain.’
      • ‘We can marvel that it sold 1.8 million copies on its first day of publication.’
      • ‘His comic annual was selling half a million copies a year and he was the subject of a whole range of merchandising material.’
      • ‘This notoriety did no harm to sales and the book sold 20,000 copies within eight months of it being published.’
      • ‘The ensuing publicity about the big corporation versus the tiny magazine meant that the reprinted issue sold 400,000 copies.’
      • ‘His records could be counted on to sell about 100,000 copies - not heroic, but very solid.’
      • ‘Since the first of the series of seven books was published, almost two million copies have been sold and they are still seen by many as the definitive guide to the Lakeland fells.’
      • ‘With American publication it became an adult and world-wide bestseller, selling over a million copies in record time.’
      • ‘The last issue of Postworker sold just under 5000 copies.’
      • ‘Some 17 million Americans tune in to Dr Laura's talk show and her book has already become a bestseller, selling a million copies in its first four months of publication.’
      • ‘Being the first African artist to sell a million copies of a single was just the icing on the cake for Mory Kante.’
      • ‘About 300,000 copies have been sold since first publication in 1959.’
      • ‘So to have gone on to sell a million copies of our album in the UK is just insanity, but it's wonderful.’
      • ‘Precise numbers about how many copies each book sold were generally kept from the editorial crew.’
      • ‘Generally, a multiplayer game that sells a million copies is considered a pretty big success.’
      • ‘Kingsfield Publications succeeds in selling a limited number of copies of each book, chiefly to the UK library trade.’
      • ‘That led to interest from the national scene, and ultimately it sold a million copies nationwide.’
    4. 1.4sell for/atno object Be available for sale at (a specified price)
      ‘these antiques sell for about $375’
      • ‘Some sporting estates have sold for higher prices but they have come with agricultural businesses as tenant farms.’
      • ‘We've noticed that houses are staying on the market longer, and that they are often selling for prices below asking.’
      • ‘So, that would imply a company where all the clothes are made for a fair price, sold for a fair price, right?’
      • ‘It was subsequently sold for an enhanced price to an undisclosed buyer.’
      • ‘It sells for a relatively high price, so it turns a high profit.’
    5. 1.5sell outno object Sell all of one's stock of something.
      ‘they had nearly sold out of the initial run of 75,000 copies’
      • ‘We totally sold out of Christmas trees and decorations.’
      • ‘The argument was settled the next day when we sold out of our newsletter in one hour.’
      • ‘One large supermarket had sold out of bread stocks by midday and supplies of flour were disappearing from the shelves.’
      • ‘All the clothing vendors rapidly sold out of sweatshirts, fleece pullovers and other warm gear.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, the store had sold out of them by the time he went back to get it on Sunday so he spent his day driving around trying to find somewhere that stocked it.’
      • ‘Our Dorking store has sold out of videos and other stores are saying that stocks are running low.’
      • ‘I'm hoping they just sold out of the black and white, because I'd hate to think the color one was more popular.’
      • ‘When her own store had sold out of a special pair of shoes Trisha wanted to buy, Rachel made an unprecedented visit to the Dolcis branch in Bury and bought the shoes herself.’
      • ‘The concession stands were practically empty - sold out of sweets and cold drinks - with only popcorn and coffee to offer punters.’
      • ‘Had to wait 45 minutes for a bus and by the time I got there the bakery on the Via Portuense had completely sold out of focaccia.’
      • ‘Parts of the UK even sold out of red hairspray as supporters rushed to do something with their hair to raise cash.’
      • ‘In the last week-and-a-half the shop has completely sold out of the kind of designer shirts that it says it would struggle to sell in its Knightsbridge store.’
      • ‘Judging from response so far there are already a lot of anglers using the new floats as we completely sold out of the first production batch within a week!’
      • ‘The response from the shop keeper was that he had already sold out of such furs.’
      • ‘One happy landlord estimated that he had sold 5,000 pints, while another had sold out of champagne and a number of spirits within hours of the victory.’
      • ‘On their first day they sold out of what they had, not expecting the turnout they got.’
      • ‘The range on show was of course impressive, but this being the final day of the festival many of the smaller brewers had sold out of beer so a fair amount of the stalls were closed.’
      • ‘A lot of fabric prints are discontinued by stores once they have sold out of them.’
      • ‘But when they tried to buy petrol before setting off yesterday, every filling station they visited had sold out of unleaded.’
      • ‘Linda told us that she took a bag full of Socialist Worker Miners' Strike specials and T-shirts, sold out of all of them, and even took orders for more.’
    6. 1.6sell outno object Be all sold.
      ‘it was clear that the performances would not sell out’
      • ‘Word of mouth quickly spread, performances sold out, and the show's original run was extended.’
      • ‘Tickets are selling well and the Friday and Saturday night performances are sold out.’
      • ‘Expected to run six weeks, it became the first show in the history of Los Angeles theater to sell out 300 consecutive performances.’
      • ‘The warm glow doesn't last, of course, but the beginning of the fringe is a good time to catch shows before the best ones start to sell out and the performers get too knackered to remember their jokes.’
      • ‘It is only the evening performances that are sold out ahead.’
      • ‘It sounded too good to be true, even as I handed over the six pounds for the front row seat (the last one left in a sell out final performance).’
      • ‘Both performances were sold out as parents packed the hall to see their children take centre stage.’
      • ‘Of the 24 professional performances, six sold out, and a further eight filled at least 85 per cent of the seats.’
      • ‘Performance sold out, but some limited view seats or returns may be available from the box office’
      • ‘Both Saturday performances of the Monday-Saturday show have sold out and the Friday performance is almost full.’
      • ‘The premiere was a popular and critical success, with scheduled performances sold out almost immediately.’
      • ‘The matinee performance on Tuesday was sold out and people were turned away as all 253 seats were full.’
      • ‘Tickets for Sting's Royal Albert Hall performance are sold out already?’
      • ‘Tickets for the play's 24 performances sold out in less than two days, the majority of them bought by one of the youngest audiences the theatre can recall.’
      • ‘Despite this being a work that takes literally days to perform, every performance was sold out months in advance.’
      • ‘I have to sit with the usherettes because the performance has been sold out for weeks.’
      • ‘A few tickets remain for the matinee performance at 1.30 pm Saturday but the evening performance is sold out.’
      • ‘Please note, Monday's performance has sold out already, and prompt booking is recommended for the rest of the week.’
      • ‘It's only the evening performances which are sold out.’
      • ‘Lots of press coverage was good news for the show and the ten performances sold out.’
    7. 1.7sell throughno object (of a product) be purchased by a customer from a retail outlet.
      • ‘The British economy also benefits when the product returns to these shores and is distributed by a British distributor, and sold through a British store.’
      • ‘As a producer of windows and doors that are sold through home improvement outlets, we are interested in this information.’
      • ‘These insurance products are sold through authorized insurance brokers.’
      • ‘Esk Valley is only a small-scale producer, with wines sold through selected independent wine merchants.’
      • ‘A further option is to sell through certain specialized shops, on the basis that the product requires sales expertise in that area.’
      • ‘So, the bulk of their milk continues to be sold through established outlets.’
      • ‘Convenience goods are generally sold through many retail outlets so that buyers have easy access to the product.’
      • ‘These devices will avoid Intel's usual channels for its products and instead will be sold through electronics shops in the US.’
      • ‘She would then reproduce the scenes on mugs, coasters, mousepads, postcards, and other items, which she would sell through high-end retail outlets and gift stores, mainly to tourists.’
      • ‘He sold through the local supermarket chains, which were then still the backbone of the American grocery industry.’
      • ‘Around two-thirds of products are sold through advisers.’
      • ‘In addition to catalog sales, Venus sells through its Jacksonville retail outlet and also distributes wholesale to surf shops and speciality stores worldwide.’
      • ‘We have an uncluttered retail environment to sell through, and that's a big enabler.’
      • ‘Their highly individual woven fabrics, made from wool and organza, are also sold through outlets such as Liberty and Co.’
      • ‘Gateway sells through retail outlets, whereas Dell's business relies on the factory direct model.’
      • ‘This past September, the company expanded its reach to include San Francisco and New York, primarily selling through Asian marketing outlets.’
      • ‘It's a bit like the changes and options opening up in banking - you can sell through retail outlets, by telephone or online.’
      • ‘The company will continue to provide retail registrations internationally through the Network Solutions business and will sell through its many resellers in the UK.’
      • ‘Why must CDs be sold through official - and more expensive - outlets?’
      • ‘Most industry observers figure the record companies will eventually have to strike deals with every credible Net outlet, much as they currently sell through Tower Records or Kmart.’
    8. 1.8sell upno object Sell all of one's property, possessions, or assets.
      ‘Ernest sold up and retired’
      • ‘He applied to Richmond Council to build houses and offices on the site, but the application was refused, so he sold up to property developers who have since submitted a succession of planning applications.’
      • ‘We plan to live at my place for two to three years, then sell up and buy a property abroad.’
      • ‘This limits movement around the market for existing home owners who are looking to sell up, grinding the property chain to a halt.’
      • ‘The owners are selling up to a property developer and will retire rich.’
      • ‘So we quit our jobs, sold up everything, and came here.’
    9. 1.9sell oneself Have sex in exchange for money.
      ‘if she was going to sell herself then it would be as well not to come too cheap’
      • ‘Finally, through intimidation and violence the girl, separated from family and now dependent on the recruiter and pimp for drugs and money is expected to pay back her debt by selling herself for sex.’
      • ‘You sold yourself for money to help your sister.’
      • ‘The fact that women end up on the street selling themselves cheaply to get money for drugs is tragedy in itself.’
      • ‘During the time I spent living rough, I met many homeless people, girls and boys, who had started selling themselves for money.’
      • ‘In the course of his conversations with her, he told her that back in the day, things were so hard that he used to sell himself to make money!’
    10. 1.10archaic Offer (something) dishonorably for money or other reward; make a matter of corrupt bargaining.
      ‘do not your lawyers sell all their practice, as your priests their prayers?’
    11. 1.11sell someone out Betray someone for one's own financial or material benefit.
      ‘the clansmen became tenants and the chiefs sold them out’
      • ‘My brother is a strong person, but they felt they had been sold out.’
      • ‘A lot of us are angry because we don't know what's happening and the people who have put quite a lot of years into the company feel they have been sold out.’
      • ‘I feel we have been sold out by the interim management team led by Mr Dawson.’
      • ‘This was a youth meeting, youth must be the ones speaking to work this out, and the adults had sold us out again by managing this problem, and not addressing it head on.’
      • ‘In his acceptance speech, Patrick talked about the raw deal given the fishermen, that they were sold out by the government.’
    12. 1.12sell outno object Abandon one's principles for reasons of expedience.
      ‘the prime minister has come under fire for selling out to the U.S’
      • ‘She's a dance and drama teacher at a Catholic high school, and aspires to age graciously without selling out to the complacent middle class.’
      • ‘Instead he berates him for abandoning his country and selling out to make money.’
      • ‘He believes the group has demonstrated that ‘independent drinks companies’ have a real alternative to selling out to one of the global drinks giants.’
      • ‘Many Europeans see this as selling out to agribusiness and international pressure.’
      • ‘It is another thing entirely to be a corporate whore, selling out to the highest bidder because the CEO fattens your campaign chest.’
  • 2Persuade someone of the merits of.

    ‘he sold the idea of making a film about Tchaikovsky’
    ‘he could get work but he just won't sell himself’
    • ‘Politicians have been sold the idea that it is a big wealth-creating industry that must be cherished at all costs and now refuse to face the downside.’
    • ‘Why do you need to sell others on the idea of being a parent?’
    • ‘For the moment at least, there is no talk of incentives on the Irish market, so here it will have to sell on its merits alone.’
    • ‘It's too soon to try to politically sell such an idea - mainly because it is a very complicated sale.’
    • ‘Just how one sells something like this, I have no idea… so I thought I'd tell its story here and see if anyone has any suggestions.’
    • ‘What is being sold here, in short, is the idea of control.’
    • ‘He was as smooth a talker as any merchant in the city streets and knew how to sell many an idea to men.’
    • ‘The project aims to turn brainpower into big business by attracting new investment and selling Manchester as a city of ideas - a so-called Ideopolis.’
    • ‘Firstly, with this modern mobile stuff, consumers have been sold the idea of the Internet on their phone.’
    • ‘With an eye on the commissions earned from these products brokers were cashing in on the equity craze at a time when the world was being sold the idea of building a share portfolio.’
    • ‘If there's no way to sell a particular good idea, then you put it on the back-burner and look at something else.’
    • ‘Well I argue that anyone who's persuaded a two-year-old to eat spinach can sell anything.’
    • ‘When we are offered a television, we are as much being sold the idea behind it as the physical reality of it.’
    • ‘Lecturing us on how to keep our linen cupboards tidy, we are being sold the idea that cleaning is cool and that a few crumbs under the toaster is an indication of failure.’
    • ‘Is it any surprise that so many people can be sold irrational ideas, systems, devices, and philosophies?’
    • ‘I just read this claptrap from someone who is selling a ‘new’ idea for moving a vehicle.’
    • ‘Style and image is everything when you're trying to sell something as nebulous as an idea.’
    1. 2.1 Be the reason for (something) being bought.
      ‘what sells CDs to most people is convenience’
      • ‘Fear of invasion was sold as the principal reason for the creation of the nation.’
    2. 2.2 Cause (someone) to become enthusiastic about.
      ‘I'm just not sold on the idea’
      • ‘Now Jerry had always wanted a poolroom, but knew he would have to sell Sherry on the idea.’
      • ‘Can I just go through, if I may, some of the advantages, because of course not everybody is sold on this idea.’
      • ‘But trainer Rick Griffin sold Buhner on the idea that he could still be a contributor on the field and in the clubhouse.’
      • ‘The kids - despite not being totally sold on the idea of paper curls - did their best.’
      • ‘He worked in radio and sold Hollywood on the idea for the movie.’
  • 3archaic Trick or deceive (someone)

    ‘what we want is to go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the rest of the town’

noun

informal
  • 1An act of selling or attempting to sell something.

    ‘the excitement of scientific achievement is too subtle a sell to stir the public’
    • ‘Though the irony was glaring, it was a tough sell to ad agencies.’
    • ‘While this message was hugely popular among Russians, it was a tougher sell in the outside world.’
    • ‘Just as important to the sell are shapely female models suggesting that Cigarettes are babe-catchers.’
    • ‘It's an easy sell there, because that's where the commodity has value.’
    • ‘Once you have a highly-acceptable product, it's mostly an emotional sell.’
    • ‘Part of the sell was that it would breathe life into the other two-thirds and drive local economic development.’
    • ‘Still, in Leadbetter's opinion, the sell here is the method, the program, the environment.’
    • ‘We'll look at the tough sell facing our commerce secretary in Beijing.’
    • ‘The lack of a software standard also makes DAPs a complicated sell.’
    • ‘All but one of the 14 analysts covering the company had a sell on it.’
    • ‘Because we don't come at you with our content with a hard, commercial sell.’
    • ‘The average rider reads these, guarding against the eventual sell.’
    • ‘MBTs fulfilled all the conditions and they proved an easy sell.’
    • ‘For one, getting capital from skittish investors proved a tough sell.’
    • ‘It's not an easy sell, but you have to work on people that are role models to different generations.’
    • ‘For the most part, though, foreign films have become a tough sell, and their decline is hardly a mystery.’
    • ‘We are, as Adam said, different from advertising in terms of the call to action and the straight sell.’
    • ‘By the end of the no-pressure sell, the four other guests had booked a consultation.’
    • ‘But so much of it is a real-life cartoon, that little kids seem a natural sell.’
    • ‘Buying a second home in the Desert Southwest was not an easy sell to Sue.’
  • 2A disappointment, typically one arising from being deceived as to the merits of something.

    ‘actually, Hawaii's a bit of a sell’

Phrases

  • sell someone a bill of goods

    • Deceive someone, especially by persuading them to accept something untrue or undesirable.

      ‘she was sold a bill of goods about that dog's pedigree’
      • ‘‘They,’ he told a Senate judiciary subcommittee, ‘sold the country a bill of goods.’’
      • ‘I mean, are we getting sold a little bit of a bill of goods, here?’
      • ‘I know the answer to that - he thinks we are completely brain dead, because we bought his whole bill of goods before, and once we realised that we were tricked, we didn't do a damn thing about it.’
      • ‘In fixing blame for the way the public appears to have been sold a bill of goods, don't overlook the part played by the media.’
      • ‘That is a conceit that has been sold to us as a bill of goods, and we should not buy it; and the last people who should buy into that are the ministers of Word and Sacrament.’
      • ‘Consumers seeking relief from phone hucksters shouldn't be sold a bill of goods by their government.’
      • ‘In the process, the American people were demoted from citizens to consumers, and sold a bill of goods about how the almighty market was the essential foundation of democracy.’
      • ‘But lest you go getting any notions that we're being sold an old disorder with a new name and a brand-new (now prescription) bill of goods, think again.’
      • ‘It's simply because I know that women are being sold a bill of goods, a limited sense of their own capacities, a distorted view of birth.’
      • ‘What bothers me the most about it is not just that we are being sold a bill of goods by the very outfit responsible for making possible most current Internet security problems.’
      • ‘If we, as a country, bought a bill of goods, this article might function as the receipt written in mutating ink.’
      • ‘Still, it's hard to shake the notion that we're being sold a bill of goods - a vision of war as sleek and high-tech and, ultimately, painless and made to look easy.’
      • ‘Were they just misunderstandings of intelligence data, or were we sold a bill of goods?’
      • ‘It passed because voters were sold a bill of goods by proponents of the act.’
      • ‘I picture the churlish store employees who sold me this bill of goods in the first place, bellyaching about being at work, glancing at the ringing phone in irritation, then disgust, then amusement as they willfully ignore it.’
      • ‘You're almost certainly being sold a bill of goods.’
      • ‘The guys who get caught now will be the ones who are sold a bill of goods by someone who convinces them he has a way to keep them from being caught.’
      • ‘If you think that's possible, you've been sold a bill of goods that you'll regret buying for the rest of your life.’
      • ‘As I said earlier, American men have been sold a bill of goods.’
      • ‘But rather than target individual lawmakers, they sold voters a bill of goods about the virtues of putting limits on how long anyone can serve in certain elected positions.’
      • ‘And the political scandal relates to the fact that we've been sold a bill of goods on this limited government.’
      • ‘And once again, it was the sense-only an occasional sense in de la Pena's case, but still there - that I was being sold a bill of goods.’
  • sell someone down the river

    • informal Betray someone, especially so as to benefit oneself.

      • ‘He has sold us down the river and made our democracy a joke.’
      • ‘Staff feel they have been sold down the river by the Government.’
      • ‘Will he remove our freedoms and sell us down the river with a smile?’
      • ‘They could stop these plans now but instead they are selling us down the river for a few pence a tonne.’
      • ‘Our leaders have sold us down the river on numerous occasions.’
      • ‘I guess just by sheer odds alone, he was bound to do something right, and the Right Honourable Prime Minister saw the light about doing the right thing and not selling us down the river.’
      • ‘Traders accused the planning committee of ‘selling them down the river’ after controversial plans to redevelop the Market Hall were approved.’
      • ‘Yet he behaves and talks constantly as if the world is out to get him, as if he has been sold down the river by some series of massive injustices that have conspired to deny him the fullness of his life.’
      • ‘Soldiers and veterans groups could complain that troops are being made into scapegoats, and that the Pentagon and CIA have sold them down the river.’
      • ‘And they say they feel they have been sold down the river by their union leaders, who last week accepted a pay settlement involving changes in shift patterns and working practices.’
      cheat, trick, swindle, defraud, dupe, hoodwink
      View synonyms
  • sell someone a (or the) dummy

  • sell someone a pup

    • informal Swindle someone (or be swindled), especially by selling (or buying) something worthless.

      • ‘The talk is that Ford was sold a pup when it bought the British brands - an accusation Dover dismisses.’
      • ‘As inept as Rangers were inspired, with one win now in nine league games, Thompson has been sold a pup, one that only whimpered briefly before submission against the Ibrox opponents.’
      • ‘The people of New Zealand have been sold a pup by the Prime Minister of New Zealand.’
      • ‘‘If we had put them to the membership, they would have thought they had been sold a pup,’ he said.’
      • ‘He spotted the ignorance of the conservatives in Middle Eastern affairs - and sold them a pup.’
      • ‘The Minister's chief executive has sold him a pup, and he has bought it.’
      • ‘The first is that Helen Clark and Pete Hodgson sold New Zealand a pup.’
      • ‘Those who joined up because they were in favour of Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environment, Community, and Trades Unionism have been sold a pup.’
      • ‘It is a difficult process, but it is possible to win compensation if you were sold a pup.’
      • ‘We have had no official word but we are being told that the Israelis are saying they have been sold a pup.’
    • informal

      see pup
  • sell short

    • Sell stock or other securities or commodities that one does not own at the time, in the hope of buying at a lower price before the delivery time.

      • ‘The best shares to short - provided you believe the fundamentals of the company you are shorting are poor - are those where very few shares have been sold short.’
      • ‘When you sell short, you're betting that the price of a stock is going to go down.’
      • ‘Short interest is simply the total number of shares of a company that have been sold short.’
      • ‘The stock began the year with 50 million shares sold short.’
      • ‘ETFs can be bought on margin, sold short or bought at a limit price (a minimum or maximum price set by the investor).’
      • ‘The NYSE calculates program trading as the sum of shares bought, sold and sold short in program trades.’
      • ‘One million shares in company A have been sold short.’
      • ‘Also, since they trade intraday, ETFs can be bought long or sold short, used in hedge strategies and bought on margin.’
      • ‘Second, if the price of the stock goes up after you sell short, your potential loss grows.’
      • ‘When the market rises and the bulls are greediest, the pros sell short.’
  • sell someone/something short

    • Fail to recognize or state the true value of.

      ‘don't sell yourself short—you've got what it takes’
  • sell one's soul (to the devil)

    • Do or be willing to do anything, no matter how wrong it is, in order to achieve one's objective.

      ‘universities are selling their souls for commercial success’
      • ‘It's more like selling my soul to Satan, except I don't have anything to gain.’
      • ‘But when you sell your soul, no matter for what price, you die inside.’
      • ‘It doesn't take much intelligence to understand that once you have sold your soul to the devil, you can't buy it back.’
      • ‘I don't think that I sold my soul to the devil for that £350, but if I knew that I could claim a lot more for something, I won't lie and say I wouldn't be tempted.’
      • ‘Then, with a new job in a new part of the country, I finally sold my soul to eternal debt, took the plunge into home ownership and, for the first time, tasted independence.’

Origin

Old English sellan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse selja ‘give up, sell’. Early use included the sense ‘give, hand (something) over voluntarily in response to a request’.

Pronunciation

sell

/sɛl//sel/