\ 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 But a major shift to imports could be a challenge, given that outside of the wealthiest cities most beef is bought fresh from wet markets, rather than the frozen or chilled packaged meat that’s best-suited to international trade. David Fickling | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "We Could Be Approaching Peak Beef," 24 Nov. 2019 Legh Master was one of the first settlers in what is now Carroll County and later bought thousands of acres in Westminster. Akira Kyles,, "Grave marker of Carroll County settler, infamous slave owner replaced; historical society takes in old ledger," 24 Nov. 2019 The Fed has stressed that its current efforts are just a technical fix, and do not mark a return of that 2008 crisis-era bond-buying program aimed at stimulating the economy. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Why Black Friday is absolutely crucial for struggling retailers," 24 Nov. 2019 Participants can support the event by buying $12 T-shirts at Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "THIS WEEK: Get on your running shoes for Katy’s annual Turkey Dash," 24 Nov. 2019 The top markets in his ad buys all have later primary dates, so if Bloomberg formally announces a run, his focus may be on states that current 2020 candidates aren't spending a ton of time in as of now. NBC News, "Michael Bloomberg makes multi-million ad buy in major March primary markets," 23 Nov. 2019 Rather than buying climate intelligence, some companies are training their own staff. The Economist, "Firms that analyse climate risks are the latest hot property," 23 Nov. 2019 But why would stores pay to let consumers buy their stuff for less? Wired, "Why Did PayPal Pay $4 Billion for a Coupon Browser Extension?," 23 Nov. 2019 Fine print: Book rooms (December stays only) or buy cards between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Top travel deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019: Hotels, tours and resorts," 22 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The buys ranged from two dozen spots on KDVR to 122 on KCNC, across several time slots during the day. Jon Murray, The Denver Post, "Michael Bloomberg buys Denver TV spots as part of record ad blitz," 22 Nov. 2019 The measure had a huge impact on environmental regulations; the only viable bills now were those that could gain broad political buy-in. Lisa Song, ProPublica, "Cap and Trade Is Supposed to Solve Climate Change, but Oil and Gas Company Emissions Are Up," 15 Nov. 2019 Trimming social-insurance subsidies for the well-off or progressive tax reform to raise their average (but not marginal) tax burdens is a modest price to pay for buy-in for a largely successful economic system. The Economist, "America needs to fix capitalism to save it," 18 Oct. 2019 Any intervention will need community buy-in, Thomas and Carnes add. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Study identifies a key reason black scientists are less likely to receive NIH funding," 9 Oct. 2019 Whoever takes charge should recognise the necessity of getting residents’ buy-in before implementing modernisation policies. Ndubisi Onwuanyi, Quartz Africa, "The unplanned journey that led Lagos to becoming an overwhelmed megacity," 5 Oct. 2019 Speaking of buy games against MAC schools, that’s what the Buckeyes made this Big Ten crossover road game look like. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "No. 5 Ohio State football answers any remaining doubts and pulverizes Nebraska 48-7," 29 Sep. 2019 UConn already has a buy game scheduled with Clemson for 2021 worth $1.2 million. Ralph D. Russo,, "UConn football heads toward independence; 11 enough for AAC," 25 June 2019 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

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

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Buy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 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

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