1. the sale of goods to ultimate consumers, usually in small quantities (opposed to wholesale).


  1. pertaining to, connected with, or engaged in sale at retail: the retail price.


  1. in a retail quantity or at a retail price.

verb (used with object)

  1. to sell at retail; sell directly to the consumer.
  2. to relate or repeat in detail to others: to retail scandal.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be sold at retail: It retails at 50 cents.


  1. the sale of goods individually or in small quantities to consumersCompare wholesale (def. 1)


  1. of, relating to, or engaged in such sellingretail prices


  1. in small amounts or at a retail price


  1. to sell or be sold in small quantities to consumers
  2. (rɪˈteɪl) (tr) to relate (gossip, scandal, etc) in detail, esp persistently

mid-14c. “sell in small quantities or parcels,” from Old French retaillier “cut back, cut off, pare, clip, reduce, circumcise,” from re- “back” (see re-) + taillier “to cut, trim” (see tailor (n.)). Sometimes also “to deal out (information, etc.) in small quantities; hand down by report; recount, tell over again” (1590s). Related: Retailed; retailing.


early 15c., “sale of commodities in small quantities or parcels or at second hand” (opposed to wholesale), from Old French retail “piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring” (Modern French retaille), from retaillier (see retail (v.)). The notion of the English word is “a selling by the piece.” This sense is not in French, however, and comes perhaps from cognate Italian ritaglio, which does have that sense. As an adjective, “of or pertaining to sale at retail,” c.1600.

A term describing businesses that sell goods directly to individuals. (Compare wholesale.)

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