Sell vs Keep - What's the difference?

sell | keep |

As verbs the difference between sell and keep

is that sell is (intransitive) to transfer goods or provide services in exchange for money while keep is to continue in (a course or mode of action); not to intermit or fall from; to maintain.

As nouns the difference between sell and keep

is that sell is an act of selling or sell can be (obsolete) a seat or stool while keep is (obsolete) care, notice.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?



Etymology 1

From (etyl) sellen, from (etyl) , Icelandic selja.


  • (intransitive) To transfer goods or provide services in exchange for money.
  • * Bible, (w) xix. 21
  • If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-10, volume=408, issue=8848, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= A new prescription , passage=No sooner has a [synthetic] drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one. These “legal highs” are sold for the few months it takes the authorities to identify and ban them, and then the cycle begins again.}}
  • (ergative) To be sold.
  • To promote a particular viewpoint.
  • (slang) To trick, cheat, or manipulate someone.
  • * (Charles Dickens)
  • * {{quote-news, year=2011, date=January 12, author=Saj Chowdhury, work=BBC
  • , title= Liverpool 2-1 Liverpool , passage=Raul Meireles was the victim of the home side's hustling on this occasion giving the ball away to the impressive David Vaughan who slipped in Taylor-Fletcher. The striker sold Daniel Agger with the best dummy of the night before placing his shot past keeper Pepe Reina.}}
  • (professional wrestling, slang) To pretend that an opponent's blows or maneuvers are causing legitimate injury; to act.
  • Antonyms
    * buy
    Derived terms
    * sell-by date * sell-out * sell-outs * sell-through * sell down * sell down the river * sell ice to Eskimos * sell like hotcakes * sell one's soul * sell out * sell refrigerators to Eskimos * sell wolf tickets


    * To trick, or cheat someone. *


    (en noun)
  • An act of selling.
  • This is going to be a tough sell .
  • An easy task.
  • * 1922': What a '''sell for Lena! - (Katherine Mansfield), ''The Doll's House (Selected Stories, Oxford World's Classics paperback 2002, 354)
  • (colloquial, dated) An imposition, a cheat; a hoax.
  • * 1919 ,
  • "Of course a miracle may happen, and you may be a great painter, but you must confess the chances are a million to one against it. It'll be an awful sell if at the end you have to acknowledge you've made a hash of it."

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) selle, from (etyl) sella.

    Alternative forms

    * selle (obsolete)


    (en noun)
  • (obsolete) A seat or stool.
  • (Fairfax)
  • (archaic) A saddle.
  • * 1590 , Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene , II.ii:
  • turning to that place, in which whyleare / He left his loftie steed with golden sell , / And goodly gorgeous barbes, him found not theare [...].




  • To continue in (a course or mode of action); not to intermit or fall from; to maintain.
  • :
  • *(William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • *:Both day and night did we keep company.
  • *(Tobias Smollett) (1721–1771)
  • *:within the portal as I kept my watch
  • To hold the status of something.
  • #To maintain possession of.
  • #:
  • #To maintain the condition of.
  • #:
  • #:
  • #*
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=10 , passage=Mr. Cooke had had a sloop?yacht built at Far Harbor, the completion of which had been delayed, and which was but just delivered.
  • #*{{quote-book, year=1935, author= George Goodchild
  • , title=Death on the Centre Court, chapter=1 , passage=She mixed furniture with the same fatal profligacy as she mixed drinks, and this outrageous contact between things which were intended by Nature to be kept poles apart gave her an inexpressible thrill.}}
  • #(lb) To record transactions, accounts, or events in.
  • #:
  • #(lb) To enter (accounts, records, etc.) in a book.
  • #(label) To remain in, to be confined to.
  • #*1605 , (William Shakespeare), (King Lear) , III.ii,
  • #*:The wrathful skies / Gallow the very wanderers of the dark / And make them keep their caves.
  • #To restrain.
  • #:
  • # To watch over, look after, guard, protect.
  • #:
  • #*1590 , (Edmund Spenser), (The Faerie Queene) , II.viii:
  • #*:cursse on thy cruell hond, / That twise hath sped; yet shall it not thee keepe / From the third brunt of this my fatall brond.
  • #To supply with necessities and financially support a person.
  • #:
  • #(lb) To raise; to care for.
  • #:
  • #*1914 , Robert Joos, Success with Hens , Forbes & company, p.217:
  • #*:Of course boys are boys and need watching, but there is little watching necessary when they keep chickens.
  • #*{{quote-news, year=2011, date=December 14, author=Steven Morris, work=(The Guardian), title= Devon woman jailed for 168 days for killing kitten in microwave
  • , passage=Jailing her on Wednesday, magistrate Liz Clyne told Robins: "You have shown little remorse either for the death of the kitten or the trauma to your former friend Sarah Knutton." She was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years.}}
  • #To maintain (an establishment or institution); to conduct; to manage.
  • #*(William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • #*:like a pedant that keeps a school
  • #*Sir (c.1564-1627)
  • #*:They were honourably brought to London, where every one of them kept house by himself.
  • #*
  • #*:At half-past nine on this Saturday evening, the parlour of the Salutation Inn, High Holborn, contained most of its customary visitors.In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass.
  • #To have habitually in stock for sale.
  • To hold or be held in a state.
  • #(lb) To reside for a time; to lodge; to dwell.
  • #:
  • #*(William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • #*:Knock at his study, where, they say, he keeps .
  • #To continue.
  • #:
  • #*, chapter=22
  • , title= The Mirror and the Lamp , passage=Not unnaturally, “Auntie” took this communication in bad part.
  • #*{{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-28, author=(Joris Luyendijk)
  • , volume=189, issue=3, page=21, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= Our banks are out of control , passage=Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic
  • #To remain edible or otherwise usable.
  • #:
  • #:
  • #*1707 , John Mortimer], ''[ The Whole Art of Husbandry
  • #*:If the malt be not thoroughly dried, the ale it makes will not keep .
  • #(lb) To remain in a state.
  • #:
  • #:
  • (lb) To wait for, keep watch for.
  • *:
  • *:And thenne whan the damoysel knewe certaynly that he was not syre launcelot / thenne she took her leue and departed from hym / And thenne syre Trystram rode pryuely vnto the posterne where kepte hym la beale Isoud / and there she made hym good chere and thanked god of his good spede
  • To act as wicket-keeper.
  • :
  • To take care; to be solicitous; to watch.
  • *(William Tyndale) (1494-1536)
  • *:Keep that the lusts choke not the word of God that is in us.
  • To be in session; to take place.
  • :
  • (lb) To observe; to adhere to; to fulfill; not to swerve from or violate.
  • *Bible, iv. 7
  • *:I have kept the faith.
  • *(John Milton) (1608-1674)
  • *:Him whom to love is to obey, and keep / His great command.
  • To confine oneself to; not to quit; to remain in.
  • :
  • To visit (a place) often; to frequent.
  • * (1579-1625)
  • *:'Tis hallowed ground; / Fairies, and fawns, and satyrs do it keep .
  • Synonyms

    * (maintain possession of) retain * (maintain the condition of) preserve, protect

    Derived terms

    (keep) * keep-away * keep around * keep at * keep away * keep back * keep down * keep faith * keep fit * keep from * keep going * keep in mind * keep it down * keep it on the barber pole * keep it real * keep it up * keep mum * keep off * keep on * keep on truckin' * keep one's cards close to one's chest * keep one's cool * keep one's eye on the ball * keep one's eyes peeled * keep one's head * keep one's head above water * keep one's lips sealed * keep one's peace * keep one on one's toes * keep oneself to oneself * keep out * keep out of * keep quiet * keep shtum * keep somebody in stitches * keep somebody posted * keep someone in the loop * keep straight * keep tabs on * keep the peace * keep the wolf from the door * keep track * keep up * keep up with * keep wicket * keep with * keep your pecker up * keep one's hair on * keep one's shirt on * keepalive * keepie-uppie/keepy-uppy * keepnet * keepsake


    (wikipedia keep) (en noun)
  • (obsolete) Care, notice
  • *:
  • *:So Sir Gareth strayned hym so that his olde wounde braste ayen on bledynge; but he was hote and corragyous and toke no kepe , but with his grete forse he strake downe the knyght.
  • (historical) The main tower of a castle or fortress, located within the castle walls. (According to , the word comes "from the Middle English term kype , meaning basket or cask, and was a term applied to the shell keep at Guînes, said to resemble a barrel".)
  • The food or money required to keep someone alive and healthy; one's support, maintenance.
  • :He works as a cobbler's apprentice for his keep .
  • The act or office of keeping; custody; guard; care; heed; charge.
  • *Spenser
  • *:Pan, thou god of shepherds all, / Which of our tender lambkins takest keep .
  • The state of being kept; hence, the resulting condition; case.
  • :to be in good keep
  • (obsolete) That which is kept in charge; a charge.
  • *Spenser
  • *:Often he used of his keep / A sacrifice to bring.
  • (engineering) A cap for holding something, such as a journal box, in place.
  • Derived terms

    * earn one's keep

    See also

    * donjon