\ 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 into buy 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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Other Words from buy


buyer \ ˈbī(-​ə)r How to pronounce buyer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for buy

Synonyms: Verb

cop [slang], pick up, purchase, take

Synonyms: Noun

bargain, deal, pennyworth, snip [British], steal

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Examples of buy in a Sentence


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.


four cartons of ice cream for four dollars is a real buy
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Besides issuing cards, McCluskey said the kiosk staff educate customers about the benefits of marijuana products and offer an alternative to buying products on the black market. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Bar mural and cannabis kiosk get design reviews," 5 July 2019 My first pair of chef whites and my knife were bought by a charity to get me to college. National Geographic, "The Path to ‘Uncharted’ – Gordon Ramsay Seeks Culinary Inspiration in Far Flung Places," 2 July 2019 But even that won’t bring back the man who used to have long talks with them over a fishing pole, who was seemingly always buying new tools for his latest project, who would hurry to help neighbors in need of a car repair. Mark Olalde,, "Backup cameras would save miners' lives. So why are mines fighting against using them?," 26 June 2019 The race among drug companies to acquire firms developing new cancer treatments produced another takeover, as Pfizer agreed to buy Array BioPharma in an $11.4bn transaction. The Economist, "Business this week," 22 June 2019 The players bought in, worked hard and the biggest of the big things came May 21, when the No. Glenn Graham,, "2019 All-Metro boys lacrosse Coach of the Year: Josh Hatmaker, Glenelg," 21 June 2019 Carmel toy store owner Teneen Dobbs, however, already is counting inventory and scouting toys to buy for the holiday rush. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "Trump tariff concerns are the fright before Christmas for Carmel toy store owner," 21 June 2019 The current owners of the house, Thomas J. Campbell and Marsha Campbell, bought it in February 2002 for $625,000. Robyn A. Friedman,, "Legendary high-flyer’s home offers a taste of old Florida glamour | PHOTOS," 20 June 2019 That makes me very emotional, to know that the governor knew Cody’s story and bought in and knows that this is a good thing for parents to have a choice. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Governor Greg Abbott signs HB 76, Cody’s Law, fulfilling 7-year crusade for Crosby man," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Today’s big private-equity firms, such as KKR and Blackstone, cut their teeth during the buy-out boom of the 1980s. The Economist, "The rise and rise of private capital," 4 July 2019 Of course, even with the faith and 100 percent buy-in from the clubhouse, a manager isn’t squat without the performance of his players. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Newman: Credit Bud Black’s steely demeanor for keeping Rockies on track amid roller-coaster first half," 3 July 2019 True peace within a political state requires a buy-in for the state’s citizens. K. V. Turley, National Review, "Border Posts and Border Ghosts," 1 July 2019 Add to the personnel turnover the change in defensive coordinators and linebacker coaches and the Ducks needed to have buy-in from the veterans and Dye was quickly on board in the spring., "Oregon MVP 10: Troy Dye, leader of Ducks defense, is No. 5," 1 July 2019 So far, there has been increased buy-in from state and local leaders—Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, was with Krebs in Israel this week for the CyberWeek conference at Tel Aviv University, for instance. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "“We need to up our game”—DHS cybersecurity director on Iran and ransomware," 28 June 2019 U-M's buy-out would only be applied if Howard was terminated without cause. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball's Juwan Howard to make $11.2 million with 5-year deal," 13 June 2019 The company, whose books were sold to Amazon by distributors, did test buys. David Streitfeld, New York Times, "What Happens After Amazon’s Domination Is Complete? Its Bookstore Offers Clues," 23 June 2019 The company, whose books were sold to Amazon by distributors, did test buys. David Streitfeld,, "What happens after Amazon’s domination is complete? Its bookstore offers clues," 23 June 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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Learn More about buy

Dictionary Entries near buy





buy a pup


buy boat

Statistics for buy

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for buy

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

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More Definitions for buy



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

What made you want to look up buy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

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