\ 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

Magnolia has bought into maintaining the historical integrity of the house. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Chip and Joanna Gaines Just Bought A Museum to Go With Their Castle," 12 Mar. 2019 Scroll below to see some great ideas for how to refresh your crop top outfits this coming season, and where to buy them. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "How to Refresh Your Crop Top Looks for Spring," 12 Mar. 2019 Those who buy into RTX are going to be left with expensive GPUs and nothing to do. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Why you should or shouldn't buy a GeForce RTX laptop," 6 Mar. 2019 Even party skeptics bought into his hypernationalism. Jonathan Kolatch, WSJ, "Behind China’s Desire for a Trade Deal With Trump," 4 Mar. 2019 No demand is too much—even a family of 11 people wanting to BBQ fish for dinner and calling 5 minutes before the fish shop closes to buy it. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Traveler 25: A Very Opinionated, Totally Subjective List of Things We Loved About Travel This Year," 14 Dec. 2018 Peele also involves the audience, reminding everybody watching that everyone who bought tickets, told their friends—and screamed at the screen—is a part of this journey, too. Marisa Polansky And Kristine Keller, Vogue, "A Helpful Guide to Nailing Your Oscars Acceptance Speech," 24 Feb. 2019 But the owner of the building is the one who buys the appliances. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "My Patent Story: A Smarter Electrical Metering System Than the Utilities Had," 21 Feb. 2019 Background checks and other restrictions on who can buy a gun can’t achieve that in the short term. German Lopez, Vox, "I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery.," 14 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The launch also includes a six-figure Web ad buy on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, Cavalier said. Dino Grandoni, The Seattle Times, "California billionaire Tom Steyer inches closer to 2020 White House bid," 20 Nov. 2018 Google’s new Pixel 3 phones are almost here, and the company is pulling out all the stops to make sure that everyone knows about them: the phones have a five-day ad buy for the entire week of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Google’s Pixel 3 was used to film part of Eminem’s performance on top of the Empire State Building," 15 Oct. 2018 The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative political campaign organization, launched a seven-figure ad buy Wednesday, aimed at vulnerable Democrats, said chief counsel and policy director Carrie Severino. CBS News, "Supreme Court nomination, confirmation process likely to mimic Gorsuch playbook," 29 June 2018 Cellphone records showed that someone used Thomas' girlfriend's phone to call Juarez's relative before the buy. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis man gets 55 years in prison in slaying set up via Offer Up app," 29 June 2018 After sitting on his campaign cash for weeks, Baltimore State’s Attorney candidate Thiru Vignarajah on Wednesday launched a $200,000 ad buy for the final week before the June 26 Democratic primary election. Tim Prudente,, "Baltimore state's attorney candidate Thiru Vignarajah launches $200K radio, TV ad push," 20 June 2018 The ad, which highlights Nelson's biography and Senate record, its part of a $2.2 million statewide buy. Alex Daugherty, miamiherald, "Scott blitzes Florida with TV ads. Nelson holds off. That's how Scott won last time.," 21 May 2018 Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa emphasizes his humble beginnings in his gubernatorial campaign’s first statewide TV ad, which premieres Saturday with a $1 million ad buy. San Francisco Chronicle, "New Antonio Villaraigosa TV ad stresses his humble beginnings," 27 Apr. 2018 Before the Nordstrom buy, there was a disconnect between what people saw at Fashion Week and what actually ended up on racks in stores. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Chromat's Becca McCharen-Tran on Curvy Mannequins, Size Inclusivity, and That Major Nordstrom Buy," 16 Apr. 2018

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

20 Mar 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).


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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