I stumble upon the term "dealersearch". It is used by German companies on their international (and therefore English) websites. It's a literal translation of the german term "Händlersuche", which translates to store locator in English - as far as I know.

In Germany, the (German) slang word "Dealer" is associated with drug dealers. I ask myself, if this is different for native english speakers? What impression do native English speakers get if a page uses dealersearch instead of store locator? Is dealersearch just a bad translation or does the term by itself suggest a search for drug dealers? Maybe I'm totally wrong and dealersearch is just a little odd, but valid translation?

3 Answers 3


The word 'dealer' is associated with selling automobiles and other motor vehicles, but not other retail products.

I go to a car dealer, but I don't go to a grocery dealer or a furniture dealer or a clothes dealer.

"Store locator" is pretty idiomatic in UI/UX for AmE. For business-to-business sales, consider "Distributor locator".

And as a footnote - "dealersearch", without the space, is a very German way of writing that. It's 2 words in English.


Ditto John Feltz. Let me just add a couple of points.

As Mr Feltz says, yes, in English we talk about "drug dealers". But we also talk about "car dealers" and "real estate dealers" and other types of salesmen as "dealers". If you just walked up to a friend and began a conversation by saying, "Hey, do you know any good dealers?", then, without some larger context, a conversation from the previous day or whatever, most would be puzzled and ask, "What kind of dealer?"

If I was on a web site related to buying cars and it said "dealer search", that wouldn't seem odd. Almost any other product and it would, though. Again, as Mr Feltz says, we don't talk about "grocery dealers" or "gasoline dealers" or "shoe dealers".

The most common label on most web sites is "store locator". If that's not appropriate because the place is not commonly called a "store", like you're searching for a doctor or lawyer or hotel or gas station, use a term appropriate to that type of place. Like "office locator" for the doctor of lawyer or "property locator" for the hotel. Some web sites say "location finder", which is pretty general.


I cannot speak for uses outside North America, but on this side of the pond, the word dealer is highly contextual. If someone remarks I don't bring my children over to their house, because his nephew is a dealer, she is probably deferring to a drug dealer.

For the average American, however dealer almost always refers to a car dealer. From my limited exposure to that world, people who buy illicit drugs tends to other euphemisms like their "source" or their "guy" or their "supplier," if the relationship is good, their pusher or dealer if there is an admission the relationship is bad. Dealer on its own is softer than drug dealer; if you call someone a crack dealer or meth dealer, it's effectively an insult, as these are very low status professions widely considered among the worst elements of society.

The AHD definition is telling in its examples—

One that is engaged in buying and selling: a used-car dealer; a drug dealer.

It must be said, there are negative connotations of car dealers, especially used car dealers, as well. They have a reputation for aggressive or dishonest sales practices and for overpriced or unnecessary maintenance services. This has led some car companies (especially from premium marques) to push the terminology pre-owned instead of used and retailer instead of dealer, though I do not believe they have widespread currency among the public.

-- All in all, however, you would probably want to avoid dealer not because of its potential social baggage, but because it is not commonly used outside of a few products. You might buy artwork from an art dealer, or a yacht from a boat dealer, but at the consumer/retail level there are few other products bought and sold by a dealer. I cannot think of any kind of store (AmE) or shop (BrE) one would refer to as a dealer, except in jest to compare them to a drug dealer.

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