US English user looking for help with AusE. How would you describe to a friend something you bought that was on sale, discounted, or on clearance? Would it be with those terms, or variations on those terms, or with different words entirely? What would signs outside a shop having a sale say?

Google's intractable, keeps trying to sell me horse saddles.

Thanks in advance for your time and help.

  • On sale would be the most common, discounted is fine. We'd understand what on clearance means but I doubt it would be said much. Mar 3, 2016 at 8:33

1 Answer 1


Typically "on special" or "on sale" is used in Australia.

Specials are usually referred to groceries/perishables and change weekly.


Help your self to some of that ham mate, I got it on special.

Sales are usually refer to periodic shopping events for consumer goods.


Myer are having a sale on men's shirts, you should check it out.

Got the new telly on sale at JB HiFi for only 600 bucks.

Signs outside of grocery shops might say "Weekly specials". In the other example it might say "Winter Sale" or "Clearance Sale".

Discount is generally used to refer to cheaper pricing due to lesser quality (think like a dollar store in USA). The items could be old stock or nearing expiration. "Discount clothing" generally has minor faults, like poor stitching, less commonly it could just refer to last season clothing, but most boutique stores would avoid using the word "discount" for fear of being associated with "lesser quality".

It's also common for single items in grocery stores to be marked as "discounted" if they're slightly damaged or nearing expiration. This is different to being on special as it might only be one or two single cartons of milk that are marked with a discount sticker as opposed to all of a particular type of milk being "on special" for the week.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.