Definition of sale in English:

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Pronunciation: /seɪl/


1 [mass noun] The exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something: we withdrew it from sale [count noun]: the sale has fallen through
More example sentences
  • Some money from every sale goes towards the efforts of the Band Aid Trust in Africa.
  • Money from each book sale will go to the Alice Rose Trust which supports sick children.
  • Privatization without flotation on the stock market means either a management buy-out or sale by tender.
selling, vending, disposal;
dealing, trading, bargaining
1.1 (sales) A quantity or amount sold: price cuts failed to boost sales
More example sentences
  • The overall annual quantity of our beef sales to Egypt when translated into live cattle equivalent amounts to 450,000 animals.
  • But when prices fall, sales generally increase, offsetting some of the decrease in revenue.
  • The fear is that corporate profits have been boosted by cost cutting, not increased sales and prices from a revival of the economy.
1.2 (sales) The activity or business of selling products: director of sales and marketing
More example sentences
  • We play but a support role in the most important aspect of the promotional products business: sales.
  • Each of these groups has its own business manager, sales manager and product development manager.
  • The retail sales report can be compared to the sales activity of a publicly traded company.
2A period during which a shop or dealer sells goods at reduced prices: the January sales got under way this week
More example sentences
  • The average price recorded from the time the sales started in the period under review was $1.89 per kilogramme.
  • Then (this is one from earlier today) I might be asked to choose a date for a chain of shops to start their sales.
  • There are long, lingering closing down sales at the two rental shops nearest to my flat, and the local Blockbuster is emptier every time I go there.
deal, transaction, bargain, disposal
2.1A public or charitable event at which goods are sold or auctioned: a bric-a-brac sale will be held at St Cuthbert’s Church Centre
More example sentences
  • She regularly holds sales and other fundraising events and has raised thousands of pounds.
  • Half of the total has been collected from auctions, sales, coffee mornings and other events at the church in Otley Road.
  • The next fundraising event is an indoor sale to be held at Melksham Labour Club on February 22.



(up) for sale

Offered for purchase; to be bought: cars for sale at reasonable prices
More example sentences
  • The sofas are being offered for sale in supermarket car parks and on motorway service stations.
  • Homemade gifts will also be for sale and offer a great way to begin holiday shopping.
  • A popular move included forcing local authorities to offer council houses for sale.
on the market, on sale, on offer, available for purchase, able to be bought/purchased, purchasable, obtainable, in the shops

on sale

1Offered for purchase: the November issue is on sale now
More example sentences
  • Extra copies of the current issue will go on sale in Easons in June as a test case for the second issue.
  • The full version of this article can be seen in the December issue of Tatler, on sale this week
  • Videos of the night are still on sale and can be purchased by contacting Betty Sweeney.
2North American Offered for purchase at a reduced price: the crash put stocks on sale by slashing prices

sale or return

British An arrangement by which a purchaser takes a quantity of goods with the right of returning surplus goods without payment: [as modifier]: booksellers normally order books on a sale-or-return basis
More example sentences
  • Purchasing on a sale or return basis, Majestic will also offer the loan of chiller bins and ice and free glass loan.
  • The idea of selling bikes on a sale or return basis was a resounding success and the business turned around.
  • He had made one call to her, concerning an assignment of scented candles he'd bought prior to Christmas on sale or return, which he wanted counted and re-boxed before they were picked up by the supplier.


Late Old English sala, from Old Norse sala, of Germanic origin; related to sell.

  • sell from Old English:

    An Old English word that originally meant ‘to give, hand over in response to a request’. The longer version of the expression sell your soul, ‘to do absolutely anything to achieve your objective’, is sell your soul to the devil. Over the centuries various people reputedly agreed to give their soul to the devil if in return he would grant them all their heart's desires in this life. The most famous person alleged to have made such a pact was the 16th-century German astronomer and necromancer Faust, whose story inspired Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus, and gives us the expression Faustian (late 19th century) as in Faustian pact. Sale (Old English) comes via Old Norse from the same Germanic root as sell. Use of the word for selling goods at a lower price than before dates from the mid 19th century.

Words that rhyme with sale

ail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, frail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, webmail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, surveil, wail, wale, whale, Yale

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