AskDefine | Define consignment

Dictionary Definition



1 goods carried by a large vehicle [syn: cargo, lading, freight, load, loading, payload, shipment]
2 the official act of consigning a person to confinement (as in a prison or mental hospital) [syn: commitment, committal]
3 the delivery of goods for sale or disposal

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A collection of goods to be sent, in transit or having been sent.


A collection of goods to be sent, in transit or having been sent

Extensive Definition

Consignment is the act of consigning, which is placing a person or thing in the hand of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold or person is transferred. This may be done for shipping, transfer of prisoners, or for sale in a store (i.e. a consignment shop). In the context of sale, it is usually understood that the consignee (the consignment seller or the party to which goods are sent) pays the consignor (the person who owns the items for sale or the party by which the goods are consigned) only after the sale, from its proceeds.

Consignment Shops

"Consignment shop" is an American English term for second-hand stores that offer used goods at a lower cost than new. Many offer new items as well. The dealer pays the seller a percentage upon the sale of the goods.
Merchandise often sold through consignment shops include antiques, athletic equipment, automobiles, books, clothing (especially children's, maternity, and wedding clothing which are often not worn out), furniture, firearms, music, musical instruments, tools, and toys. eBay drop off stores often use the consignment model of selling. Art galleries, as well, often operate as consignees of the artist.
Consignment shops differ from charity or thrift shops in that the original owner retains some of the revenue from the sale, rather than donating it to the charity. They differ from pawnbrokers, which acquire the good from the original owner in exchange for money or a loan of money.
In the UK, the term "consignment" is not used, and consignment shops selling women's clothing are called "dress agencies". Although the other types of consignment shop exist, there is no general term for them.


Consignment comes from consign, Fr. consigner, Lat. consignare, to affix a signum, seal; whence, in Late Lat., to hand over, or transmit.

Further reading

  • Too Good to be Threw: The Complete Operations Manual for Resale & Consignment Shops (Spiralbound, 202 pages)
  • FutureShop: How the New Auction Culture Will Revolutionize the Way We Buy, Sell and Get the Things We Really Want (Hardcover, 246 pages)


consignment in Bulgarian: Консигнация
consignment in German: Konsignation
consignment in Hebrew: מכר מותנה
consignment in Portuguese: Consignação
consignment in Swedish: Konsignation

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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