AskDefine | Define consign

Dictionary Definition



1 commit forever; commit irrevocably
2 give over to another for care or safekeeping; "consign your baggage" [syn: charge]
3 send to an address

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. To assign.
  2. To transfer permanently.
  3. To deliver.

Derived terms

Usage notes

See usage note for commit.

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)


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

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abalienate, accredit, address, air-express, airfreight, airmail, alien, alienate, amortize, assign, authorize, barter, bequeath, carry over, cede, charge, charter, commend, commission, commit, commit to prison, communicate, confer, confide, convey, deed, deed over, delegate, deliver, demise, deport, depute, deputize, detach, detail, devolute, devolve, devolve upon, diffuse, dispatch, disseminate, drop a letter, embark, empower, enfeoff, entrust, exchange, expedite, expel, export, express, extradite, forward, freight, give, give in charge, give in trust, give title to, hand, hand down, hand forward, hand on, hand over, impart, import, infeudate, institutionalize, license, mail, make over, metastasize, metathesize, mission, negotiate, pass, pass on, pass over, pass the buck, perfuse, post, recommit, relay, relegate, remand, remit, resign, route, sell, send, send away, send forth, send off, send out, send to jail, send up, settle, settle on, ship, sign away, sign over, spread, surrender, switch, trade, transfer, transfer property, transfuse, translate, translocate, transmit, transplace, transplant, transpose, trust, turn over, warrant, yield
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