Retail - Encyclopedia


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RETAIL, the sale of goods or commodities in small quantities to the immediate consumer, opposed to a sale wholesale or in gross. The O. Fr. retaille, from which the word is taken, meant a piece cut off, from tailler, to cut, Med. Lat. taleare, Lat. talea, a rod, cutting for planting. The English meaning appears in Anglo-French and in the Italian retaglio, selling by the piece. The other meaning of "retail," to repeat a story, is a transferred sense of an early meaning, "to sell at second hand." The Latin source is also seen in the related words "entail," "tailor," "detail" and "tally."

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