Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make public announcement of, especially to proclaim the qualities or advantages of (a product or business) so as to increase sales. See Synonyms at announce.
  • transitive v. To make known; call attention to: advertised my intention to resign.
  • transitive v. To warn or notify: "This event advertises me that there is such a fact as death” ( Henry David Thoreau).
  • intransitive v. To call the attention of the public to a product or business.
  • intransitive v. To inquire or seek in a public notice, as in a newspaper: advertise for an apartment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To give notice to; to inform or apprise; to notify; to make known; hence, to warn; -- often followed by of before the subject of information.
  • transitive v. To give public notice of; to announce publicly, esp. by a printed notice.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To take note of; notice; observe.
  • To inform; give notice, advice, or intelligence to, whether of a past or present event, or of something future: as, I advertised him of my intention.
  • To give information to the public concerning; make public intimation or announcement of, by publication in periodicals, by printed bills, etc., as of anything for sale, lost or found, a meeting, an entertainment, or the like.
  • Synonyms To apprise, inform.
  • To make known, announce, proclaim, promulgate, publish.
  • To take note; take heed; consider.
  • To make public announcement of anything of which it is desired to inform the public; announce one's wishes or intentions by advertisement: as, to advertise for something that is wanted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. call attention to
  • v. make publicity for; try to sell (a product)

Etymologies

Middle English advertisen, to notify, from Old French advertir, advertiss-, to notice; see advert1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From (the stem of) Anglo-Norman avertir, advertir, Middle French advertir, avertir ("to warn, give notice to"), with the ending assimilated to -ise, -ize and probably influenced by the noun advertisement. Compare also advert. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • 'I must advertise you, my dear, that my father is rather irritable.'
    —Robert Bage, 1796, Hermsprong

    This is OED sense 4. d., transitive with subordinate clause; not marked by them as obsolete, and they have an example from 1850, but as this word begins Ad- it probably hasn't been revised since 1889.

    Hermsprong, by the way, is a delight: a satirical, didactic novel echoing Voltaire and prefiguring Jane Austen and Thomas Love Peacock. And I'd never heard of the author before!

    Here's another example ibidem of a similar construction with recipient object:

    In passing out they were met by Mr. Hermsprong, accompanied by the man-servant of the family, a man of a respectable appearance, who, on seeing the arrest of his master, had run of his own accord to a neighbouring village, to advertise a friend of Mr. Wigley's of this unhappy business.

    March 20, 2009

  • Early to bed,
    Early to rise,
    Work like hell,
    And advertise.
    (Attributed to Ted Turner.)

    August 12, 2008