I am seeing the word closeout in shops everywhere, online and 'real'. I understand from context that it means something like clearance, but can you tell me if it is an American term, or just a new word or if it is common everywhere and I have just missed seeing it before? It sounds really odd to me.The OED informs us that Bec is not unobservant--it is an American term and it means clearance (i.e. the selling of a line of stock or a shop's contents until there is no stock left). The OED covers the verb form to close out or , but they note that it's also used as a noun (or an absol. in the OED's vocabulary):
b. To clear out (a stock of goods); to wind up (a business); to sell or finish off. Also absol. U.S.The examples in the OED mostly have pronouns as the object of close out, and the pronoun goes between the verb (close) and the particle (out), as in close it out. If the object is a full noun phrase, my spider senses tell me that you could put it either before or after the out--but the longer the object noun phrase, the more likely it would be to go after the out. In my experience, though, the noun closeout is currently more common than the verb to close out. That is, I'd be more likely to say They're having a closeout on Acme widgets, rather than They're closing Acme widgets out.
On the noun front, one might say that it's a closeout or a closeout sale. Wikipedia tells me that in the US there are things called closeout stores, which are dedicated to selling off ends of product lines. I've never heard that term (perhaps it is industry jargon), but the same phenomenon exists in the UK--except instead of (US) TJ Maxx, the UK has TK Maxx.
And on that note, I can close out this entry. Or close this entry out.