Definition of wholesale in US English:



  • The selling of goods in large quantities to be retailed by others.

    • ‘These statistics imply that total revenue for the wholesale beef sector was about $23.84 billion in 2002.’
    • ‘That margin affects both system reliability and wholesale, and thus long-term retail, electricity rates.’
    • ‘These companies provide the long distance calling networks, selling wholesale and retail minutes of use to residential and business customers.’
    • ‘Apparel wholesale / manufacturing typically is not noted for cutting-edge technology and even retail is not as advanced as some other industries.’
    • ‘In Sri Lanka it has one factory, 116 retail outlets, five wholesale markets and several storage facilities.’
    • ‘We have already got some wholesale orders and are hoping to get more soon.’
    • ‘Controversial plans to split Telstra into separate retail and wholesale divisions have been criticised by one of the world's top ratings agencies.’
    • ‘And January wholesale unleaded gasoline goes for 75 cents, vs. 87 cents today.’
    • ‘To centralize control and management of all Army inventories, AMC has been combining wholesale and retail inventories through the single stock fund program.’
    • ‘Ninety percent of that total came from wholesale suppliers who derive the fuel from soybean oil, not restaurant grease.’
    • ‘‘Farmers markets and consumer-direct don't do near the volume wholesale does,’ Klesick said.’
    • ‘The Beverage Council of Ireland this weekend strenuously denied that the organisation had been involved in illegal price-fixing in the wholesale drinks market.’
    • ‘According to Jose J. Valavi of Valavi and Company engaged in wholesale of greeting cards, sales in this season have been the same as last year.’
    • ‘The wholesale of paintball equipment rose from $170 million in 1999 to $225 million in 2001.’
    • ‘He bought his first tractor in 1949 and has sold at wholesale markets since he was 16 and trucking lettuce to the old Fisherman's Wharf.’
    • ‘Even on a quarterly basis, Scottish retail and wholesale was growing at double the rate of the UK.’
    • ‘The retail side is growing a little bit faster, but we anticipate wholesale will pick up with MSN and AOL in the marketplace.’
    • ‘It could also separate its heavily regulated wholesale networking business from its retail fixed line business, which is performing well thanks to rising Internet usage.’
    • ‘The Nictus group includes property, carpet wholesale, carpet retail, motor industry and short term insurance companies.’


  • 1Being sold in large quantities to be retailed by others.

    ‘bottles from this region sell wholesale at about $72 a case’
    • ‘A mile away is Chowpatti Street in Old Delhi, where traders from all over India buy and sell wholesale.’
    • ‘If the drug's active ingredient sells for $5 / dose wholesale, that's a $150-million cargo.’
    • ‘Zhao who sells fruit wholesale in a nearby fruit exchange market now confronts losses almost everyday.’
    • ‘Small shops such as Cuds and Cuddles, Pacific, and Bubbles buy most of their merchandise wholesale from Accra's bigger boutiques and stores.’
    • ‘Bulk chemicals were bought wholesale from chemical supply companies to make developer and fixer for black and white, as well as color processing.’
    • ‘Sometimes, the overwhelming desire to buy in bulk, shop wholesale, or to purchase fashion items that co-ordinate in a very serious way, remind me that I'm Jewish.’
    • ‘In addition, Flashy Foot Wear sells flashy shoe bags, shoe slide protectors, and accessory bags, all of which can be purchased either retail or wholesale.’
    • ‘Retailers wanting to buy Antec products wholesale should contact Altech Computers.’
    • ‘Meedac staff member Raymond Merritt with some of the produce sold wholesale to Geraldton and Perth.’
    • ‘I can get my vanilla wholesale from there.’
    • ‘In 1869 a Jesse Peel took over, installed a brewing plant and also sold beer wholesale on a dray.’
    • ‘As well as selling from their own shop, the Ramsays run a mail order business, sell wholesale all over the country and to department stores such as Jenners and Harrods.’
    • ‘Selling to retail stores or selling wholesale is another option, if you're willing to take less money, but usually for larger quantities.’
    • ‘Selling the pies and pudding wholesale was something else she had to consider.’
    • ‘One of the privileges granted to them was the right to sell their wine wholesale, free of duties.’
    • ‘One sample costs $113 per foot wholesale, and a 16-by 20-inch frame uses seven or eight feet of moulding.’
    • ‘He stated that an ounce, being 28 grams, could be purchased wholesale for $1,200 to $2,000.’
    • ‘I'm not a distributor, but we do sell wholesale, and I know how big a pain in the neck small orders can be.’
    • ‘Other farmers sold their milk wholesale, in 40-quart cans, and that was it.’
    • ‘Many of you have complained about buying supplies retail, and selling crops and livestock wholesale.’
    1. 1.1 On a large scale.
      ‘the safety clauses seem to have been taken wholesale from union documents’
      • ‘That definition appears to be borrowed wholesale from de Boinod's predecessor, Howard Rheingold.’
      • ‘While it is not an instrument transplanted wholesale from West Africa, that its roots are as much there as in the yards of Laventille is undeniable.’
      • ‘Although her debut album Drama stole its sound and attitude wholesale from the US, Thank You sees the vocalist take bold steps onto new musical ground.’
      • ‘At rehearsal Missy walks out when she sees the Toros routine, recognising that it's been lifted wholesale from the East Compton Clovers, a cheer team from the LA ghetto.’
      • ‘Dr Clark worries that the university will sell its intellectual property wholesale to an over-mighty bidder; others are concerned that it will cost Cambridge its creative edge.’
      • ‘It's the sort of acting that's so natural one gets lost in it, losing sight of the actor as an actor and buying the character wholesale.’
      • ‘Unfortunately Labour is adopting more and more this ideology that free trade is everything and that we should just pursue it wholesale without taking into account the interests of New Zealand workers.’
      • ‘The attempt to transfer the Westminster system wholesale to T & T has not been 100 per cent successful.’
      • ‘Our planners, politicians and experts have opted wholesale for large dams and gigantic industrial units, and have dug mines and exploited forests in pursuit of their elitist vision of progress and development.’
      • ‘What I mean by this is that although Fourier was aware of what was happening in England as a result of the Industrial Revolution, he rejected industrialism wholesale.’
      • ‘That his newest flatmate happens to be both gay and a fashion design student leads to a makeover montage lifted wholesale from an episode of Queer as Folk.’
      • ‘Vaughn's role is essentially a reprise of the role he played in The Magnificent Seven, right down to a couple of key speeches which are lifted almost wholesale from the earlier film.’
      • ‘It was ironic, because having just left Thatcherite London behind, I returned to Dublin where we had imported Thatcherism wholesale.’
      • ‘The game has not merely been transferred wholesale to the PC and the consoles of the latest generation, however.’
      • ‘Judging by the absence of any critical questioning in the published piece, the Guardian's reporters - one of them the paper's political editor - swallowed this guff wholesale.’
      • ‘But dismissing the idea wholesale, on this flimsy evidence, makes no more sense than giving up driving because your motor has failed its MOT.’
      • ‘Rush are a substantial live band, there's no doubt in my mind, and Rio is the first of their four regular live releases to capture their innate excitement wholesale.’
      • ‘While City banks shed staff wholesale during the late 1980s downturn, and amid the Asian Crisis a decade later, redundancies during the current slowdown have been made on a more calculated basis.’
      • ‘But while the government is pulling out all the stops to promote parental involvement in their children's education, it clearly does not intend to hand over responsibility wholesale.’
      • ‘New College moved wholesale into an £11 million building, and the Duke of Edinburgh took a genuine interest in the students and their studies.’
      extensively, on a large scale, comprehensively, thoroughly
      View synonyms


  • Done on a large scale; extensive.

    ‘the wholesale destruction of the natural order’
    • ‘For some reason, the wholesale destruction of property is considered a tolerable way to traditionally celebrate the New Year in France.’
    • ‘Second, Irdial's editing may have been sufficient ‘selection and arrangement’ to give rise to a copyright in the whole track, preventing wholesale verbatim copying.’
    • ‘Endless images of wholesale destruction and the war machines that brought it about blurred the boundary between reality and fiction, the normal and the horrific.’
    • ‘Distraught by such wholesale destructions, Shenoy started salvaging whatever he could.’
    • ‘At worst, the outcome could be wholesale slaughter on a scale that makes the current level of daily mayhem look like the peaceable kingdom.’
    • ‘That's the frustrating thing, it's how patient I can be without making wholesale changes.’
    • ‘English Heritage also warns today against the wholesale destruction of old homes as part of efforts to regenerate the housing market in areas such as South Yorkshire and Hull.’
    • ‘Like thousands of others in this devastated city, this woman has lost all her wares and livelihood, in one terrifying morning of wholesale destruction.’
    • ‘And until Government starts properly funding schools, they will always struggle to keep out this tiny minority who can cause such wholesale destruction.’
    • ‘From the point of view of making an impact on the reader, however, extensive and sometimes wholesale editing would have helped.’
    • ‘The beauty of privatization is that new forms of organization can be introduced into public education without making wholesale changes to public education itself.’
    • ‘Pohl recognizes that we cannot address that eclipse by calling for a wholesale, indiscriminate recovery of an ancient and pre-modern practice.’
    • ‘Indeed, the Gigg Lane men enjoyed the lion's share of play for the first 60 minutes and only let it slip after making wholesale changes for the last half hour.’
    • ‘And most of all, protection is urgently required from the wholesale destruction of every last vestige of Nature in our lives.’
    • ‘At the time, however, Old Beijing City was seen as a symbol of feudalism and eventually the Liang & Chen Plan was shelved, resulting in the wholesale destruction of hutongs.’
    • ‘Whether that responsibility means wholesale changes remains to be seen, but as long as Butch James stays at fly-half Montgomery will play - if only for his goalkicking ability.’
    • ‘This iteration builds on what was achieved in its predecessor, without making wholesale changes that could alienate fans of the original.’
    • ‘The problem is that, amongst other things, their designs require technologies and materials that don't exist, in fact wholesale leaps in the bounds of Science.’
    • ‘Rather than institute wholesale radical changes, pilot projects in small geographic areas could determine feasibility of a variety of models.’
    • ‘The stories of this wholesale destruction from farming folk in Cumbria once again illustrates the affinity between man, animals and land.’
    extensive, widespread, large-scale, wide-ranging, far-reaching, comprehensive, all-inclusive, total, outright, thorough, sweeping, blanket, broad, mass
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • Sell (goods) in large quantities at low prices to be retailed by others.

    • ‘At one point, here in the U.S., I sold Mercedes franchises and then wholesaled Mercedes cars to those dealers.’
    • ‘I was involved in wholesaling cars for awhile, and now I'm in the auto auction business.’
    • ‘The firm, now called Kilgour after erasing Stanbury's name, wholesales suits that are made in China.’
    • ‘One moves it to a manufacturing and distribution source, and then one either wholesales or retails it.’
    • ‘He began wholesaling artificial flowers in 1961, and by 1969 was importing Christmas-tree lights and decorations from Europe and Asia and travelling widely.’
    • ‘In March 1999, Click began offering high-speed broadband connections to businesses, and wholesaling bandwidth to competitive local exchange carriers.’
    • ‘Before the clothes get to the customers, they are first wholesaled directly from the brand headquarters to various outlets.’
    • ‘Dhir, 33, of Rainham, Essex, admitted importing and wholesaling the chairs.’
    • ‘An example of how the JV wholesales its broadband technology was demonstrated in trials launched with AOL Canada and Sprint Canada in Toronto, Ontario.’
    • ‘We'll also be wholesaling apples and pumpkins soon to local CSA's, processors, and produce auctions.’
    • ‘But before that she worked at Frobishers, which wholesaled fine arts cards in Helmsley before the owners closed it to move to Suffolk.’
    • ‘He shares 44th place with David, 50, and Luisa Scacchetti, 52, the husband and wife team which owns Mama's and Papa's, which imports and wholesales prams and pushchairs.’
    • ‘He wholesaled stock ranges of postcard greeting cards for all occasions including birthdays, Easter and Christmas.’
    • ‘The company has also hired Gregory Till as director of sales for the Hadley Group, which wholesales open-and limited-edition art prints and giftware.’
    • ‘Producers are wholesaling green peanuts at $28 for 30 pounds.’
    • ‘The puppies sell for as little as $50 each to a broker, who in turn wholesales them to pet stores.’
    • ‘Each start-up CD wholesales for $4.95, with a suggested retail price of $9.95.’
    • ‘He has since added imported clothing, which he now wholesales to 20 retail stores.’
    • ‘However, since it is basically just wholesaling a service provided almost entirely by Comcast, it probably could not afford to sacrifice its margins by going too cheap.’
    • ‘At the time we weren't selling textbooks, just wholesaling them out to textbook dealers.’


Late Middle English: originally as by whole sale ‘in large quantities’.