Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


His broker called for more margin; he could not respond and was sold out.

The town you sold out ain't paid you—but I'm goin' to see that it does.

"If you go you will make me nervous—and the recital is sold out," he signalled.

One or two customers had sold out, but invariably they were men.

When the friends of Jackson spurned these overtures, Clay sold out to Adams.

I'd like to know what would have happened if I'd sold out my stocks in 2009 instead of '10.

Gorman sold out to him for the $100.00 and father took possession.

Things of that sort are generally not paid for until they have been sold out of the shop.

If we live--and that was part of the agreement, you know--we will all get what we sold out for.

He made a trumpet of his hands and bellowed "Sold out" as he turned the corner.


Old English sellan "to give, furnish, supply, lend; surrender, give up; deliver to; promise," from Proto-Germanic *saljan "offer up, deliver" (cf. Old Norse selja "to hand over, deliver, sell;" Old Frisian sella, Old High German sellen "to give, hand over, sell;" Gothic saljan "to offer a sacrifice"), ultimately from PIE root *sel- (3) "to take, grasp."

Meaning "to give up for money" had emerged by c.1000, but in Chaucer selle still can mean "to give." Students of Old English learn early that the word that looks like sell usually means "give." An Old English word for "to sell" was bebycgan, from bycgan "to buy."

Slang meaning "to swindle" is from 1590s. The noun phrase hard sell is recorded from 1952. To sell one's soul is from c.1570. Sell-by date is from 1972. To sell like hot cakes is from 1839. Selling-point attested from 1959.

To sell (someone) down the river is first recorded 1927, but probably from or with recollection of slavery days, on notion of sale from the Upper South to the cotton plantations of the Deep South (attested in this literal sense since 1851).


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.