\ 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 The Chinese strategy is aimed at buying time until a vaccine or drugs are available, says George Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Can China return to normalcy while keeping the coronavirus in check?," 29 Mar. 2020 Stepping into the morass, Cove knew that expelling cats from the refuge would require buy-in from ORCAT. Carrie Arnold, Scientific American, "Can We Save the Woodrat without Slaughtering Cats?," 29 Mar. 2020 Borowsky writes about a number of young mothers who hid from their children during the selection, in an attempt to buy themselves a few additional days or possible hours of life. Judy Baumel-schwartz, The Conversation, "Auschwitz: Women used different survival and sabotage strategies than men at Nazi death camp," 27 Mar. 2020 And in addition to all that,] the running-out-of-masks issue was exacerbated by people stealing them from health care facilities and panic buying them from stores. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "What It’s Like to Be an E.R. Doctor Desperate for Personal Protective Equipment," 25 Mar. 2020 Although the traditional stores still account for about 90% of Ikea sales worldwide, foot traffic has stagnated in recent years as more young people move into urban areas, drive less, and buy more things online. Ilya Khrennikov,, "Ikea’s Web App Brings Interior Design to Soviet-Era Apartments," 24 Mar. 2020 The study is subsidizing the cost of the watch so that participants can buy it for $49, or get it on loan for no cost. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "The coronavirus is imperiling drug studies. A virtual study of the Apple Watch could be positioned to thrive," 20 Mar. 2020 His office has received more than 150 complaints alleging unconscionable pricing by sellers ranging from major retailers to convenience stores, one of which was buying $2.89-a-gallon milk at Kroger and then marking it up to $5.99. Cincinnati Enquirer, "With coronavirus price gouging including $13 toilet paper, Yost wants consumer-protection law," 19 Mar. 2020 Hand-sanitizer shortages have been felt in the United States, with people buying in bulk and hiking up the prices at online merchants such as Amazon. Audrey Noble, Allure, "Coty Inc. Is Providing Free Hydro-Alcoholic Gel to Medical and Emergency Services," 19 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These independent companies rely on seasonal buys from retailers to stay afloat. Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Exactly is Happening to Fashion Retail Right Now?," 21 Apr. 2020 More gains from companies that are winners in the new stay-at-home economy helped limit the market's losses Amazon rose 1.4%, and Netflix jumped 3.8% as people shut in at home buy staples and look to fill their time. CBS News, "Oil prices plunge below zero as demand collapses," 20 Apr. 2020 The group says the spot is part of a seven-figure ad buy that will run nationwide on broadcast and cable. Fox News, "Democracy 2020 Digest: Trump faces fresh political attacks on coronavirus response," 27 Mar. 2020 The firm on Thursday downgraded Lennar Corp. and NVR Inc. to neutral from buy and cut Toll Brothers Inc. and Foundation Building Materials Inc. to underperform from neutral and buy, respectively., "Comcast offers temporary free option for new low-income customers," 12 Mar. 2020 Even those who did buy tickets didn't show often up, the report found, estimating a 30% no-show rate for paying customers. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "A Failed Festival's Merch, Art and Event Tents Are for Sale Online, But Who's Behind It?," 12 Feb. 2020 Thispurchase marks Klobuchar's first TV ad buy in the state, whose caucuses are happening Feb. 22. TheWeek, "Amy Klobuchar looks to Nevada caucuses with TV ad buy," 12 Feb. 2020 Cabbage, carrots & celery — two to four weeks Produce that hangs out outside of the fridge aren't the only veggies that Chef Tonkinson reaches for during a bulk buy. Olivia Harrison,, "The Long-Lasting Produce A Chef Buys (& How To Keep It Fresh For Weeks)," 9 Apr. 2020 Both groups made their early buys to lock in lower rates ahead of the November general elections, when presidential and Senate ads will drive up the prices. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: 6.6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims," 9 Apr. 2020

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

2 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Buy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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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

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