Definitions

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

  • n. A sale of assorted secondhand objects contributed by donors to raise money for a charity.
  • n. A sale, especially of unclaimed or excess goods, as at a warehouse or wharf.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Informal sale of donated items, usually to fund the programs of a church or charity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a clearance sale of unclaimed goods in a public store, or of odds and ends which have accumulated in a shop.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sale of garments that have been worn and of cast off furnishings of any description, at very low prices, usually held in connection with church work for the benefit of the poor.

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

  • n. a sale of donated articles

Etymologies

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  • In Oregon, where I grew up, people had yard and garage sales, but churches and schools had rummages.

    April 22, 2008

  • According to this map, American usage of "rummage sale" is clustered around Milwaukee, of all places.

    Huh.

    April 22, 2008

  • The things you learn on Wordie. ;-)

    January 8, 2008

  • Wot?? I went to rummage sales all the time when I was young and assumed they were so called because they entailed rummaging through endless piles of castoff tat.

    January 8, 2008

  • Rummage was a nautical term describing the arrangement of casks and other cargo in the hold of a vessel. "Rummage goods" came to describe outdated items, unclaimed goods at docks, or odds and ends from warehouses, which were sold at clearance sales.

    January 8, 2008