caveat emptor

caveat emp·​tor | \ -ˈem(p)-tər How to pronounce caveat emptor (audio) , -ˌtȯr \

Definition of caveat emptor

: a principle in commerce: without a warranty the buyer takes the risk Caveat emptor is a reasonable approach for many consumer products.

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"Without a warranty, the buyer must take the risk" is the basic meaning of the phrase caveat emptor. In the days when buying and selling was carried on in the local marketplace, the rule was a practical one. Buyer and seller knew each other and were on equal footing. The nature of modern commerce and technology placed the buyer at a disadvantage, however, so a stack of regulations have been written by federal, state, and local agencies to protect the consumer against dangerous or defective products, fraudulent practices, and the like. But the principle that a buyer needs a warranty if he is to avoid risk remains an important legal concept. Note that a caveat is a small warning or explanation intended to avoid misinterpretation.

Examples of caveat emptor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As for the underwriters who structure such deals, caveat emptor is their motto. Richard Lehmann, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 But caveat emptor: these items generally do not come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but all are backed by Amazon’s liberal return policy. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, 11 Sep. 2021 One significant caveat emptor with Bishop: injury woes., 18 July 2021 Other lemon vodkas will be fine, but be warned that the producer can add sugar to the vodka and not tell anyone, so caveat emptor. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 15 July 2021 Life insurance is very much a product that involves caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. Steve Parrish, Forbes, 6 July 2021 And if companies that go public via SPAC aren’t able to do that, caveat emptor., 11 Apr. 2021 For investors chasing the next Baidu Inc. or Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., it’s caveat emptor, a point underscored recently by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. Robert Schmidt,, 1 Oct. 2020 Despite dramatic scientific breakthroughs, the Internet has recreated the kind of caveat emptor culture for medical advice that existed in the 19th century. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 4 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caveat emptor.' 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 caveat emptor

1523, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caveat emptor

New Latin, let the buyer beware

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The first known use of caveat emptor was in 1523

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Cite this Entry

“Caveat emptor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for caveat emptor

caveat emptor


English Language Learners Definition of caveat emptor

: the principle that a person who buys something is responsible for making sure that it is in good condition, works properly, etc.

caveat emptor

caveat emp·​tor | \ -ˈemp-tər, -ˌtȯr How to pronounce caveat emptor (audio) \

Legal Definition of caveat emptor

: a principle in commercial transactions: without a warranty the buyer takes the risk as to the condition of the property or goods — compare products liability at liability sense 2b, warranty

History and Etymology for caveat emptor

New Latin, may the buyer beware

More from Merriam-Webster on caveat emptor

Nglish: Translation of caveat emptor for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about caveat emptor


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