There is a process in Brazil called 'desmobilização' and I would like to know how to properly translate this term to the English language. So let me give an example:

Imagine a company having a few cars that their employees use. Now these cars are getting old and the company wants to sell it to buy new cars. This sale is exactly what we call 'desmobilização' in Brazil (I wouldn't say in Portuguese because I don't know if they use the same term in other countries that speak Portuguese).

This term would be literally translated as demobilization (as per Google Translate), but after a little research I could see that 'demobilization' is not used in the same manner as I want.

In Brazilian Portuguese, 'demobilization' means remove ('de') money that is "stuck" ('mobilized') in cars. This last explanation is not very good but I guess you guys will understand it.

  • 6
    An English term meaning to get money back out of something by selling it is: liquidate. We liquidated the old cars so we could buy new ones. But it can be used for anything- not just cars.
    – Jim
    Jul 25, 2016 at 23:12
  • 1
    I'm surprised you guys have a word for such a specific process. Is this word widespread, or is it just business argot?
    – DyingIsFun
    Jul 25, 2016 at 23:14
  • Well, Silenus, 'desmobilização' have indeed other meanings, but in a business context means getting money back from some product that you are using in your business (like a car, other machinery, furniture, and so on). I guess 'liquidate' as @Jim would apply then. Jul 25, 2016 at 23:24
  • The cars could be "retired" - I've also seen the word "obsoleted" - which is a bit made up!
    – Vérace
    Jul 25, 2016 at 23:47
  • I guess this is not correct, @Vérace. Retired and obsoleted don't illustrate the act of selling the assets to get the money back from it. They sound more like throwing something away (garbage). Jul 25, 2016 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


'liquidate' works very well here. However you may (or may not) find that some people associate that particular word with businesses that are in trouble. (It doesn't mean that... But businesses that are in trouble do have "liquidation sales" and "liquidity problems" so there is a degree of mental association.)

Another very appropriate word is divest.http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/divest

Which has a nice balanced feel to it; you invest when you buy and divest when you sell.

Your Answer

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

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