Seal the Deal: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
September 18, 2023

Have you ever heard the phrase "seal the deal" and wondered what it means? In simple terms, it refers to completing or confirming an agreement or arrangement, often used in the context of business or personal decisions.

In short:

"Seal the deal" means to finalize or confirm an agreement or decision.

What Does "Seal the Deal" Mean?

This idiom generally means to confirm or finalize an agreement or decision. However, it's not always used just for business; it can be used in many different situations.

  • Primarily used in business to indicate a successful negotiation.
  • Can also refer to confirming plans with friends or family.
  • Sometimes used in sports to talk about a game-winning moment.

It's a phrase that people use when they want to stress that something is not just tentatively agreed upon but is now a done deal. This is a phrase you're likely to encounter on a daily basis.

Where Does "Seal the Deal" Come From?

The expression traces its roots back to legal practices where seals were used to authenticate documents, particularly contracts and agreements.

Historical Usage

The term "seal" originally referred to the wax seals that were used to authenticate legal documents, such as contracts or agreements. By sealing a document with a wax emblem, the parties involved demonstrated their genuine intent to uphold the terms laid out in that document.

"When you seal the deal, the other party cannot renege."

- from a 19th-century legal manual.

Seals were often made from wax and affixed to documents as a form of security and proof of agreement. Whether you're driving through a career milestone, checking in on a significant life decision, or being there in a moment that requires decisive action, this idiom is as relevant as ever.

10 Examples of "Seal the Deal" in Sentences

Let's explore how this idiom fits into everyday language.

  • No matter what challenges arise during negotiations, a final gesture can often seal the deal.
  • She said the beautiful sunset sealed the deal on her decision to move to the coast.
  • If you can offer free shipping, that would seal the deal.
  • Her compelling writing was what helped seal the deal for the publishing contract.
  • They sealed the deal with a hug and planned to meet again.
  • The athlete's amazing final lap sealed the deal for his team's victory.
  • After dating for three years, getting engaged sealed the deal.
  • Your mom sealed the deal when she said we could have the party at our house.
  • The last goal sealed the deal for their championship win.
  • The thematic element of commitment in the movie reached its peak when the main character managed to seal the deal on his life-changing business venture.

Examples of "Seal the Deal" in Pop Culture

From riveting business-based reality TV shows to chart-topping songs and blockbuster movies, this ubiquitous idiom often serves as a pivotal narrative element that captures the essence of conclusion or commitment.

  • In the TV show "Shark Tank," entrepreneurs often say they sealed the deal after getting an investment.
  • Singer Meghan Trainor has a song titled "Seal the Deal."
  • In the film "Jerry Maguire," the phrase is used when Jerry successfully lands a contract for his client.
  • During the 2016 NBA Finals, LeBron James's famous block was said to have sealed the deal for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • In politics, the term is frequently used. For example, President Barack Obama was said to have sealed the deal on healthcare reform with his speech to Congress.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Seal the Deal"

Depending on the context, there are several ways to express the same idea as sealing the deal.

Let's explore some alternative expressions and phrases:

  • Conclude an agreement: More formal, often used in legal contexts.
  • Finalize: Simply means to finish something.
  • Clinch: Often used in sports.
  • Close the sale: Specifically used in sales to indicate that a customer has agreed to make a purchase.
  • Lock it down: Commonly used to confirm commitment in a relationship or situation.
  • Make it official: People often use this phrase when they formally recognize an informal agreement or understanding.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Seal the Deal"

  • What does "seal the deal" mean?

It means to finalize or confirm an agreement or decision, often making it legally or socially binding.

  • Where did the phrase originate?

The phrase originates from legal practices where seals were used to authenticate or confirm the validity of a document.

  • Does "seal the deal" confine itself solely to business contexts?

No, it is also used in various other contexts including family plans, sports, and more.

  • Is "seal the deal" regarded as formal phrasing?

It is generally considered casual but can be used in semi-formal contexts as well.

  • Can "seal the deal" qualify as a cliché?

It can be seen as a cliché in business jargon, but it's still widely used.

  • Does the usage of this idiom span across the globe?

Yes, the phrase is understood in many English-speaking countries and has been translated into other languages.

  • What are some synonyms for this idiom?

Conclude an agreement, finalize, and clinch are some alternatives.

  • Can you "seal the deal" in a friendship?

Absolutely. For example, becoming friends after a significant shared experience could be considered "sealing the deal."

  • Do people use this phrase in a sarcastic way?

Yes, sometimes the phrase is used sarcastically when a decision or agreement is not very significant.

  • How does pop culture influence the usage of "seal the deal"?

Through movies, songs, and TV shows, the phrase has become part of everyday language and is more broadly understood.

Final Thoughts About "Seal the Deal"

"Seal the deal" is more than just a collection of words; it's a versatile and powerful idiom that encapsulates the essence of commitment, conclusion, and agreement.

  • It mainly serves to indicate the finalization or confirmation of an agreement or decision.
  • Originated from legal practices where seals authenticated documents.
  • Appears in various forms of media and pop culture.

This phrase serves as a linguistic bridge between intention and action, thought and deed, thereby encapsulating the human spirit's capacity for decision-making and commitment.

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