Another meaning of "sell"

nagomi

Senior Member
Korean
"The actor Rip Torn was known for his versatility. He could play stern. He could play grumpy for laughs or completely sell an outrageous role. "

What's the meaning of "sell" here? I assume it to be "take", but is this a common usage?

source: Character Actor Rip Torn Dies At 88
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    One casual way to say you believe something is to say "I'll buy that."

    A: John says he never would have turned down the temperature in the fish tank if he had known it would kill all the fish.
    B: I'll buy that.


    B is saying that he believes John's explanation that he was unaware of what would happen. John was being honest when he said he didn't kill all the fish on purpose. B "buys" John's story.

    So "sell" is the flip side of "buy" in this context.

    He could...completely sell an outrageous role.

    He could do such a good job that people would "buy" it. They would see his performance as very believable, even though the role he was playing was extreme.
     
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