Definition of wholesale in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhəʊlseɪl/


[mass noun]
The business of selling of goods in large quantities and at low prices, typically to be sold on by retailers at a profit: if you want to sell large expensive pieces then wholesale is probably not the way to go [as modifier]: the manufacturer’s wholesale price
More example sentences
  • The Nictus group includes property, carpet wholesale, carpet retail, motor industry and short term insurance companies.
  • Even on a quarterly basis, Scottish retail and wholesale was growing at double the rate of the UK.
  • To centralize control and management of all Army inventories, AMC has been combining wholesale and retail inventories through the single stock fund program.


1Being sold to retailers in large quantities and at low prices: bottles from this region sell wholesale at about £72 a case
More example sentences
  • Selling to retail stores or selling wholesale is another option, if you're willing to take less money, but usually for larger quantities.
  • Many of you have complained about buying supplies retail, and selling crops and livestock wholesale.
  • 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.
2As a whole and in an indiscriminate way: the safety clauses seem to have been taken wholesale from union documents
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
extensively, on a large scale, comprehensively, thoroughly;
indiscriminately, undiscriminatingly, without exception, across the board


Done on a large scale; extensive: the wholesale destruction of these animals by poachers
More example sentences
  • At worst, the outcome could be wholesale slaughter on a scale that makes the current level of daily mayhem look like the peaceable kingdom.
  • 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.
  • 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.
extensive, widespread, large-scale, wide-ranging, far-reaching, comprehensive, all-inclusive, total, outright, thorough, sweeping, blanket, broad, mass;


[with object]
Sell (goods) in large quantities at low prices, to be sold on at a profit: imported clothing, which he now wholesales to 20 retail stores (as noun wholesaling) the company is particularly strong in wholesaling
More example sentences
  • At the time we weren't selling textbooks, just wholesaling them out to textbook dealers.
  • At one point, here in the U.S., I sold Mercedes franchises and then wholesaled Mercedes cars to those dealers.
  • Before the clothes get to the customers, they are first wholesaled directly from the brand headquarters to various outlets.


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

  • retail from Late Middle English:

    Retail is from an Anglo-Norman French use of Old French retaille ‘a piece cut off’, from tailler ‘to cut’, from selling in small quantities, as opposed to the large quantities of wholesale (Late Middle English). See also engross

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: whole|sale

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