\ 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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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

Washington residents who buy their health insurance on the state health-care exchange got both kinds of news Thursday. Paul Roberts, The Seattle Times, "Health-insurance premiums on state exchange will fall next year, but out-of-pocket costs are still rising," 14 Sep. 2019 Often enough to provide a big potential upside to buying a gun? Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Do Guns Help People Defend Themselves?," 12 Sep. 2019 To make them, buy stretchy gloves in Halloween colors and decorate with painted press-on nails. Michele Filon, Woman's Day, "Hag Bags," 9 Sep. 2019 This compares well with the cost of buying an item from a fast-fashion retailer, and could persuade consumers to switch from wardrobing to hiring. Washington Post, "The Future of Fashion Is a Rented Dress," 18 Sep. 2019 Wealthy women on both sides of the Atlantic bought their clothes from Parisian designers, who set the tone in fashion, Hume said. Julie Washington,, "Fashions of 1920s shimmer and shine in ‘Downton Abbey’ the movie," 17 Sep. 2019 Both buy mortgages, mainly from banks, add a guarantee to repay the principal and interest if borrowers default, and bundle them into securities. The Economist, "Steven Mnuchin begins reforming America’s giant mortgage-guarantee firms," 14 Sep. 2019 There is so much hay to be made during this administration, so many reporters are becoming superstars, so many comfy houses in Bethesda are being bought with so many large book deals. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Politico Doubles Down on Fake Turnberry Scandal," 13 Sep. 2019 Jack was managing director there until it was bought by Beam (now owned by Japan's Suntory (STBFY)) for $95 million in 2012. Stephanie Bailey, CNN, "The Irish whiskey revival is mixing tradition with modernity," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gahan is optimistic that the Ascension MPA can be a model for successful marine conservation, in part because the reserve was negotiated with buy-in from local residents. National Geographic, "Largest marine protected area in Atlantic Ocean will soon be official," 26 Aug. 2019 Quick buy-in and overnight success have been a pattern during Grantham’s recent stops. Edgar Thompson,, "UF DC Todd Grantham uses tough love to help Gators’ defense dominate, have fun," 25 Aug. 2019 But that buy-in drops to $500,000 if the project occurs in a rural area or in a zone with unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Trump takes aim at 'golden visa' program that's pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into Texas," 24 Aug. 2019 Santa Maria Creek Greenway Chairman John Degenfelder discussed ways of continuing to reach out to property owners along the trail’s path to get their buy-in on granting easements. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Greenway advocates plan outreach activities," 22 Aug. 2019 President Donald Trump, whose buy-in is seen as critical to the success of any potential deal to address gun violence, has recently been in talks with key members of the Senate on potential gun control legislation. NBC News, "House panel plans early return to address gun measures," 16 Aug. 2019 But the companies have had time to build up to those significant rounds—both were founded in 2011—and investors justified their large buy-ins on the basis that the batteries will command premium pricing in a world of premium electric cars. Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "SoftBank’s first bet in energy storage is a startup that stacks concrete blocks," 14 Aug. 2019 Having the buy-in and having the ownership of the offense that this is our offense. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Can Michigan football's Josh Gattis cut it as a play-caller? He's ready to prove it," 8 Aug. 2019 And for those recalcitrant few, for whom no amount of social buy-in is enough, there's an end-run: police also have the option to ask Amazon directly for Ring footage if a user declines, effectively generating a subpoena. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Police can get your Ring doorbell footage without a warrant, report says," 6 Aug. 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

16 Oct 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

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transposition of initial sounds of words

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