\ ˈbī How to pronounce buy (audio) \
bought\ ˈbȯt How to pronounce bought (audio) \; buying

Definition of buy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to acquire possession, ownership, or rights to the use or services of by payment especially of money : purchase buy a car buying stock in the company bought us dinner
2a : to obtain in exchange for something often at a sacrifice They bought peace with their freedom.
b Christianity : redeem sense 6 bought us with his blood
3 : bribe, hire buy a public official
4 : to be the purchasing equivalent of The dollar buys less today than it used to.
5 : accept, believe I don't buy that hooey. often used with intobuy into a compromise

intransitive verb

: to make a purchase Now is a good time to buy.
buy into
: to purchase a portion of or interest in the TV network bought into its local football team
buy it or buy the farm
: to get killed : die
buy time
: to delay an imminent action or decision : stall



Definition of buy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something of value at a favorable price especially : bargain It's a real buy at that price.
2 : an act of acquiring possession, ownership, or rights to the use or services of something by payment especially of money : an act of buying (see buy entry 1 sense 1) : purchase an undercover drug buy

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Synonyms for buy

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of buy in a Sentence

Verb I bought this hat for $10. He bought the quilt from a local artist. Stock prices are low, so now is a good time to buy. He said it was a mistake, but I don't buy it. Noun four cartons of ice cream for four dollars is a real buy
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On Reddit Thursday night, members of a subreddit group devoted to the game began buying copies of the game for other members who could not afford it. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Will 'Death Stranding,' a mysterious game about building connections, connect with gamers?," 9 Nov. 2019 Spoetzl Brewery has been a staple in Shiner, Texas since 1909 and is proudly independent, something Karbach Brewing Co. cannot claim to be since it was bought by Anheuser-Busch in 2016. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "'Come and Take it': A turf war between two bock beer giants has begun in Shiner, Texas," 8 Nov. 2019 The two key officials involved in overseeing the unusual ticket-buying activities are new in their jobs this year, after replacing longtime administrators who retired. Jon Lender,, "Jon Lender: British professional gambler took aim at $25.8M Lotto jackpot, buying hundreds of thousands of tickets while officials monitored him," 8 Nov. 2019 Retailers, instead, target people based on online shopping behavior (for example, by assuming households that have bought dog food recently have pets). Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "Why Politicians Want Your Smart-TV Data," 8 Nov. 2019 People are also just going out more in general, and restaurateurs and bar owners are responding by providing more spaces that don’t require much planning ahead or buy-in. San Francisco Chronicle, "Why bar food in the Bay Area has never been better," 8 Nov. 2019 Rules hasn’t ever had this aggressive an addition of new faces to the opening credits, which is likely due to the fact that the original SUR staffers are now entering middle age and buying homes in the Valley. Tim Stack,, "Vanderpump Rules season 8 trailer reveals new cast members," 7 Nov. 2019 But further research in archives and the field revealed that enslaved Africans in both the Caribbean and the southeastern United States bought their possessions. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Caribbean excavation offers intimate look at the lives of enslaved Africans," 7 Nov. 2019 Check out quick info of five of our favorite trainers below then scroll deeper for longer reviews of these and other top options, plus buying advice. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Indoor Trainers for Dedicated Cyclists," 7 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Based on the 46-year-old’s smooth and radiant complexion, the luxurious face mask that retails at $75 for a set of five, may be worth the buy. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "Gabrielle Union Just Wore A Face Mask In Public," 21 Oct. 2019 The governor hasn’t gotten buy-in on his plans to boost housing production from local governments, which may end up signing off on as few as 109,000 new home permits statewide in 2019 — a 6% decrease from last year. Los Angeles Times, "Newsom says he’s done a good job fixing California’s housing crisis. Facts say otherwise," 21 Oct. 2019 The idea is the district-level buy-in will likely fix problem schools in a way that outlasts one principal – and will lift results at the district’s other schools as well. oregonlive, "Optimism, not resentment, rules as Oregon enters version 2.0 of school improvement crusade," 20 Oct. 2019 The reason for this is every NCAA decision has to have buy-in and approval from all the universities participating in it. Luke Feliciano,, "What's new in college athletics? Esports, recruiting players who don't use a field or gym," 18 Oct. 2019 Expectation setting, and having full buy-in from every adult on the trip, is key. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Do I Convince My Husband to Go to Europe With Our Two Small Children?," 18 Oct. 2019 But just how much more does that hefty monthly budget buy? Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "What $15,000 rents in Houston, New York City & San Francisco," 16 Oct. 2019 The Sanders campaign had planned to go on air with his first television ads of the campaign this week in Iowa, announcing a two-week $1.3 million buy on Tuesday. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Bernie Sanders Is Hospitalized, Raising Questions About His Candidacy," 2 Oct. 2019 Biden, who has been pushing with ad buys in Iowa this past week, attracted 32% support, up two points from the previous USA Today/Suffolk poll in June. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "Ahead of debates, new polls show Biden with wide lead in crowded 2020 contest," 28 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'buy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of buy


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for buy

Verb and Noun

Middle English byen, from Old English bycgan; akin to Goth bugjan to buy

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Time Traveler for buy

Time Traveler

The first known use of buy was before the 12th century

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Statistics for buy

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Buy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for buy


How to pronounce buy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of buy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get (something) by paying money for it
of money : to be able to get something
informal : to accept or believe (something) as true



English Language Learners Definition of buy (Entry 2 of 2)

used to describe something that is being sold
: an act of buying something


\ ˈbī How to pronounce buy (audio) \
bought\ ˈbȯt \; buying

Kids Definition of buy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get by paying for : purchase

Other Words from buy

buyer noun



Kids Definition of buy (Entry 2 of 2)

: bargain entry 1 sense 2 I got a good buy at the grocery store.

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More from Merriam-Webster on buy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for buy

Spanish Central: Translation of buy

Nglish: Translation of buy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of buy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on buy

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not agreeing with established beliefs

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