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At the grocery store, I find produce sold by the pound, by the bag, and "by the each". I would never say produce was priced by the piece or by the item.

Where does this come from? Each is not a noun, which deserves an article.

This question asks if it is grammatical. To me, the usage is common, and I accept it. I am asking where it comes from.

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  • Where do they sell things “by the each”?? I’ve never heard that. I’ve seen prices marked 30 cents each. And $2.00 a pound but I’ve never seen “by the” used with each.
    – Jim
    Jan 30 at 6:32
  • 1
    @Jim - google.com/…
    – user 66974
    Jan 30 at 7:31
  • @user66974 - Well regardless, I think it weird and and I’m sorry to learn it’s a thing.
    – Jim
    Jan 30 at 20:43
  • @Jim - it is just wholesale industry jargon, no need to worry much.
    – user 66974
    Jan 30 at 20:51
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The same issue appears on a Language Log post where they suggest it is an intra-industry jargon probably derived from similar common expressions such as “by the piece”:

A reddit thread suggests it arose out of intra-industry jargon to distinguish items priced e.g. “$2.99 each” from items priced by the pound or by the quart or what have you,* with additional commenters saying there’s a usage among people who work in warehouses and similar environments who use nominalized “each” contrastively with “case” (so if you need a co-worker to get you a quantity that’s more than 12 cases but less than 13 cases “you might say ‘hey mike, 12 cases 3 eaches.’”

enter image description here From (riverfronttimes.com/newsblog)

See other usage examples of “prices by the each” here.

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