retail

Definitions

General English

Accounting

  • noun the sale of small quantities of goods to the general public
  • verb to sell for a price

Economics

  • noun the sale of small quantities of goods to ordinary customers
  • verb to sell small quantities of goods to ordinary customers

Travel

  • noun the sale of goods to the people who will own and use them

Origin & History of “retail”

Retail etymologically denotes the sale of ‘cut-off’ bits, hence sale in small quantities. It comes from Old French retaille ‘piece cut off’, a derivative of retaillier ‘cut up’. this was a compound verb formed from the intensive prefix re- and taillier ‘cut’ (source of English tailor). It use in English for ‘sell in small quantities’ was probably inspired by the Italian retagliare, which has the same meaning. The figurative sense ‘relate, tell’ appeared at the end of the 16th century.
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