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 Services aimed at reducing costs will find ways to do so — but caveat emptor. Peter A. Bonis, STAT, 11 Sep. 2022 Let that serve as a caveat emptor for Cassidy’s successor. Globe Staff,, 7 June 2022 The Latin expression caveat emptor (buyer beware) serves as a cautionary piece of good advice. Yoav Kutner, Forbes, 24 June 2022 New Yorkers are going to be talking about Speaker’s Corner, at 8-5, but caveat emptor. John Cherwaspecial Contributor, Los Angeles Times, 11 June 2022 In early April, the federal agency that regulates wine and other alcoholic beverages issued a mild warning to producers — and a caveat emptor to consumers — about potentially misleading health claims in advertising. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 All this may sound alarmist, a caveat emptor of preemptive self-pity for the prospective thru-hiker. Outside Online, 25 Jan. 2021 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 See More

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.

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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caveat emptor

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Caveat emptor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for caveat emptor

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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