\ 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

Several candidates––most prominently, Senator Cory Booker––support this deceptively simple idea: that buying a gun should be more like driving a car. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, "The Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton Should Spur Democrats to Propose Big Ideas on Gun Violence," 4 Aug. 2019 In 2018, $80 million bought for him a somewhat close — 2.6 points — loss against Sen. Ted Cruz. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: For the Democrats, it’s winnowing time," 4 Aug. 2019 This can be frustrating when one spends time to court another, but those who buy in to the game’s worldview may also find there are lessons to be learned here. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, "The Player: ‘Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ is Nintendo at its most flirtatious," 2 Aug. 2019 Pick up your copy of EW’s Ultimate Guide to ’90s TV on newsstands now, or buy it online. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Your ultimate guide to '90s TV is here with EW's collector's edition," 2 Aug. 2019 Over the same time period, the California Community Choice Association — which represents community energy providers who buy power distributed on infrastructure controlled by traditional utilities — reported nearly $947,000 in lobbying costs. J.d. Morris,, "‘Much quieter than they used to be’: PG&E lobbying spending falls," 1 Aug. 2019 Perales struck a deal to buy Taco Bueno for a fraction of the original $120 million asking price and paid down its debt. Dallas News, "Dallas' franchise king Guillermo Perales just opened his 1,000th store – and he's not done growing yet," 1 Aug. 2019 From that payment, $25,250,000 will be put into a fund to reimburse California residents who bought the drug in that time frame. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Drugmakers to pay $70 million over deals to keep cheap generics off the market," 30 July 2019 Lester is also accused of selling to, buying for or supplying alcohol to someone under age 21, from January 1, 2018 to June 1, 2018, according to the indictment. Robin Goist,, "Former St. Vincent-St. Mary wrestling coach indicted on sexual abuse charges," 29 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

United had six first-team centre-backs already this summer and have now landed a seventh in the shape of £80m buy Harry Maguire., "Manchester United Pre-Season: 3 Losers & 4 Winners From Promising Performances," 5 Aug. 2019 And just in time for back to school, our latest What Money Buys feature takes a look at what $1.5 million buys in three of L.A.’s top school districts. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property Newsletter: Hollywood through a lens," 3 Aug. 2019 Paredes is currently on loan with the Timbers from Club America, but Portland has a buy option in its deal with the Liga MX side, and the club has to be looking to finalize an agreement to permanently acquire Paredes for the long term. Jamie Goldberg,, "Youngster Cristhian Paredes is developing into key force in Portland Timbers’ midfield," 30 July 2019 The Fool responds: There was probably a development overnight that caused buy or sell orders to pile up all night. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: Flipping for Zillow, marrying well and this week's trivia," 28 July 2019 The informant told investigators no such drug buy took place. Washington Post, "Attorneys: Review raises doubts about fatal Texas drug raid," 25 July 2019 This ability to sell properties instantly also encourages the adoption of a second technology: click-to-buy. Karl W. Smith, Twin Cities, "Karl W. Smith: The next housing bubble could come from technology," 18 July 2019 Preliminary results seem to be about average for its normal price—a sale this steep might take it from a mediocre buy to a solid bargain. Meghan Kavanaugh, USA TODAY, "Target is having an insane sale to compete with Amazon Prime Day," 15 July 2019 Privette is charged with aggravated assault by a public servant for injuries Dwayne Walker sustained during an undercover drug buy. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "HPD officer accused of use-of-force reaches bond agreement," 28 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

7 Aug 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).


of or relating to the heavens

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