early 15c., retailen, "sell in small quantities or parcels," from the noun or 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" (opposed to wholesale), from Old French retail "piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring" (Modern French retaille), from retaillier "cut back, cut off" (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.
mid-15c., retaillour, "a retail merchant or dealer, one who sells goods in small quantities," agent noun from retail (v.) or else from Old French retailleor.
"action of selling," early 14c., verbal noun from sell (v.). Selling-point is attested from 1953 as "retail outlet;" by 1959 as "persuasive fact in a sales pitch."
1995, initialism (acronym) from Digital Video Disc, later changed to Digital Versatile Disc.
Earlier this year, electronics giant Toshiba positioned the first DVD players available in the U.S. as a home entertainment unit (retail price $600). [Black Enterprise magazine, June 1997]
"to retail, to sell in small quantities" (trans.), 1837, a colloquial back-formation from peddler. Earlier in intransitive sense of "travel about retailing small wares" (1530s). Related: Peddled; peddling. Peddling as "trifling, petty, insignificant" is by 1590s.
also check-out, 1944, from the verbal phrase; see check (v.1) + out (adv.). Originally "training given to a pilot for using a specific aircraft;" hotel sense "administrative procedure followed when guests leave after a stay" is from 1958. Retail sense "place where one pays for goods selected" is from 1947.
"place or opening by which anything is let out or escapes," mid-13c., "a river mouth," from out- + let (v.). Electrical wiring sense, "socket that connects a device to an electricity supply," is attested from 1892. The commercial sense of "a market for the sale of any product" is by 1889; that of "a retail store disposing of a manufacturer's products" is attested by 1933. Figurative sense "means of relief or discharge" is from 1620s.