Definition of buy in English:



  • 1Obtain in exchange for payment.

    ‘she bought six first-class stamps’
    ‘he had been able to buy up hundreds of acres’
    [with two objects] ‘he bought me a new frock’
    [no object] ‘homeowners who buy into housing developments’
    • ‘In order to buy the house some money that my Grandfather had stashed away for myself and my brothers was used as part of the deposit.’
    • ‘Did you log on and buy up the maximum allocation of six tickets per person?’
    • ‘The cooker they bought six months ago no longer has a light in the oven so they can see if their roast is done.’
    • ‘If they can sell a large home and buy into a village, it frees up capital for them to buy a new car, travel, or go overseas.’
    • ‘Several institutional investors are also still buying into the sector and see property as a safer bet to match long-term annuity liabilities.’
    • ‘More importantly, I had some exciting bruises to flash around, and heaps of people felt sorry for me and bought me drinks.’
    • ‘Investors buying into the market are finding attractive returns.’
    • ‘The money may not buy much but you will get paid back your original investment.’
    • ‘It was their intention to buy up the supply and then sell it in coffee shops.’
    • ‘Let's buy up tracts of vulnerable mangrove lands and begin securing at least the future.’
    • ‘He said people bought him drinks during the night but he would only take a sip and then put them aside.’
    • ‘Then he said that he's going to support me through college and buy me a car and whatever - if I did what he wanted.’
    • ‘There was talk of marriage and of pooling their money to buy an even grander house.’
    • ‘The yen that are bought, are then exchanged for U.S. dollars, or euros, or other currencies.’
    • ‘A reporter at a police station was told that if she was buying a house she could obtain the police information she wanted from from her realtor.’
    • ‘Then look at the share of houses that are being bought for investment purposes only.’
    • ‘The best thing that a young person can do is to stay in school and invest the money that they have: buy a house, own land.’
    • ‘We are of the view that time is now to look for money to buy up the bumper harvest.’
    • ‘I know one smart one who saved all her money from 2 years of bar work and bought herself a house in a nice subdivision in Pattaya.’
    • ‘I've just started buying property and bought my first about six months ago.’
    purchase, make a purchase of, make the purchase of, acquire, obtain, get, pick up, snap up
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    1. 1.1Pay someone to give up an ownership, interest, or share.
      ‘when their affair ended, she bought him out’
      • ‘It attracts someone's attention, they buy you out and spend billions in development.’
      • ‘When you see a sold stock run, you will think of everything bad: It's going straight to $40, someone is going to buy them out, they're going to cure cancer tomorrow, etc, etc.’
      • ‘Such ‘discounts’ can attract the unwanted attention of opportunists and arbitrageurs who buy up the shares and then attempt to make a quick profit by forcing companies to buy them out for a higher price.’
      • ‘The same people who complain of our speed in spreading salvation and saving men would all want to buy shares, become our partners or buy us out.’
      • ‘Several of the clubs had been approached by developers interested in buying them out - one steward describing them as ‘circling sharks’.’
      • ‘They talk to Izzy about buying her out of the business, and what a shock, she rants and storms out, knocking Steph over in the process.’
      • ‘Even if you couldn't afford to buy them out totally, you could become a seriously difficulty to them continuing to manufacture the weapons.’
      • ‘My parents and the parents of all my childhood neighbors and rural classmates have moved to town to ‘retire’ once their kids are old enough to buy them out.’
      • ‘Alternatively, they may be happy to buy the house with you on the understanding that you will buy them out of their share later when you can afford it or that they get a share of any growth in value when you sell up.’
      • ‘It was pointed out that a compensation deal was not going to cost the taxpayer anything, as it would be the bigger European producers that would be buying them out.’
      • ‘If they try to keep people out or buy them out, it could get very ugly, very quickly.’
      • ‘Your little company may be nothing but a flea in a corporate elephant's patch of jungle but just how much might the elephant be willing to pay to be rid of you, or to buy you out?’
      • ‘Without broad demand, like you get from working people with the confidence to spend, investors are motivated to use sudden money to pay down their debt and sometimes, as I said, to remove their competition by buying them out.’
      • ‘Well, dagnabit, if you cant beat them, you can have them buy you out.’
      • ‘If somebody else innovates and it becomes successful they might try to buy them out or jump on the bandwagon, but if innovation threatens that guaranteed income they squash it and that's that.’
      • ‘Of course, this wouldn't keep people from buying them out of town, but presumably its backers would like to see similar law enacted in other cities, too.’
      • ‘Once the period of investment expires, the businesses are either sold outright to strategic investors, or the company they invested in buys them out.’
      • ‘Watchdogs are calling for an investigation after it emerged that firms are effectively bribing staff with thousands of pounds in cash offers to buy them out of their pension schemes.’
      • ‘Angling organisations have for years forecast serious threats to salmon stocks and now are calling on the Government to reduce the quota given to drift net fishermen or to buy them out completely.’
      • ‘The company has decided it would be cheaper to buy them out rather than send them the dividend.’
    2. 1.2Obtain one's release from the armed services by payment.
      • ‘He obtained leave to visit his dying father and then bought himself out of the army with a small legacy from a great-aunt.’
      • ‘‘It used to be the case that soldiers bought themselves out of the armed forces.’’
      • ‘Some rioters tried to keep the focus on the blatant unfairness of Lincoln's draft laws in which, for 300 dollars, the rich could buy themselves out of the service.’
      • ‘I bought myself out of the army and came here 23 years ago and have loved every minute of it.’
      • ‘Condemned to celibacy because married servants were expensive and inconvenient, their proverbial cupidity arose as often as not from saving to buy themselves out of service and into family life.’
      • ‘He had only bought himself out of the army in 1981, so had had a lucky escape from being dispatched 'to a party way down South'.’
      • ‘He bought himself out to please his wife, a childhood sweetheart who hated the idea of being a service wife.’
      • ‘After four years, Denise bought herself out of the Army and sought medical help for the turmoil she was experiencing.’
      • ‘Normally, obstacles were put in your way should you want to buy yourself out, but this was an emergency.’
      • ‘There are signs that it is already too late, with more than 5,370 infantry soldiers buying themselves out of the army in the past three years rather than be posted back abroad.’
    3. 1.3Withdraw something at auction because it fails to meet the reserve price.
    4. 1.4Procure the loyalty and support of (someone) by bribery.
      ‘here was a man who could not be bought’
      ‘I'll buy off the investigators’
      • ‘He says his money shows that he can't be bought.’
      • ‘Labour politicians who accept hospitality and sponsorship insist they can't be bought.’
      • ‘Some will argue this means that he can't be bought by lobbyists.’
      • ‘I have made my contempt and disgust for them so plain and apparent that they can't buy me off without the appearance of accepting my insult.’
      bribe, buy off, pay off, suborn, give an inducement to, corrupt
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    5. 1.5[often with negative]Be a means of obtaining (something) through exchange or payment.
      ‘money can't buy happiness’
      • ‘It buys you the am/fm and the ability to hook up your VCR to the stereo.’
      • ‘Money doesn't buy happiness and most of the time the best people are the people that you mob pass on the street everyday.’
      • ‘It buys him first bemusement, then solicitation, and finally enmity and a serious whack upside the head.’
      • ‘This buys you an Aromatic Back Massage, a Mini-Facial, a file and polish and a one-course lunch in the brasserie.’
      • ‘It has been known for centuries that money does not buy happiness.’
      • ‘Marketing types know that clever renaming only buys you something when the competition is on the margins of a product's value.’
      • ‘This sum buys you two hours a month clustered in half-hour telephone appointments, and a follow up.’
      • ‘At the risk of sounding cliché-ish: Money can't buy loyalty, or love or affection.’
      • ‘Being a veteran buys you no credibility and no respect.’
      • ‘The money buys loyalty as well as the basic necessities.’
      • ‘Money may not buy us love, or even happiness, but it can go a long way toward buying things for which we have, as yet, no other currency.’
      • ‘In fact in my experience, the fact is that our friendship and our commitment on so many things buys us the right to say to our, you know, our best friend, we think you've got it wrong on this one.’
      • ‘The old saying money cannot buy happiness certainly rings true for one of the most controversial men in rugby league.’
      • ‘An ad on this channel buys you notoriety, recognition and helps you reach 10,000 customers a day!’
      • ‘Disbelief turns to disappointment as I discover that the £150 price tag buys you genuine mink-lined underwear.’
      • ‘And wealth buys you clean water, sanitation, and healthcare.’
      • ‘And if one does get dropped, a bit of spare change buys you another.’
      • ‘It buys you things like commercials and the ability to travel where you want.’
      • ‘While that does not make him the owner - which would be illegal under the rules - it buys him a lot of influence.’
      • ‘Good intent is not the currency of history; it buys you nothing.’
    6. 1.6Get by sacrifice or great effort.
      ‘greatness is dearly bought’
      • ‘If there have been improvements in the NHS, they have been dearly bought.’
      • ‘It is dearly bought, requires sacrifice to keep, and represents a way of life.’
      • ‘We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.’
      • ‘But the support of the other members of the world community will be more dearly bought.’
      • ‘He surrendered in October, but it was a prize too dearly bought.’
      • ‘It is a rare, though dearly bought, opportunity.’
      • ‘He knew that every good thing in this world, and in the next, was bought with blood and sacrifice.’
    7. 1.7[no object]Be a buyer for a store or firm.
      • ‘In her present position, she buys for the museum shop and marks inventory.’
      • ‘Now that he buys for them he doesn't go overseas but he still works ridiculously long hours.’
      • ‘‘I used to be a much snootier reader," she admits, " but I'm buying for a lot of different stores and a lot of different readers, so I have to be far more egalitarian.’’
  • 2informal Accept the truth of.

    ‘I am not prepared to buy the claim that the ends justify the means’
    [no object] ‘I hate to buy into stereotypes’
    • ‘Competitors aren't buying into such a radical concept.’
    • ‘It's just that I'm concerned there may be women out there who are actually buying into this heart-on-my-sleeve lovelorn weeping.’
    • ‘But to buy into his sinister conclusions means buying into his level of contempt for the present authority.’
    • ‘More and more investors are buying into the global reflation story, one enhanced by aggressive rate cuts by major central banks.’
    • ‘It requires that the viewer exhibit a fair amount of willing suspension of disbelief, but buying into the essential premise is more than half the battle.’
    • ‘Again, we will never actually get to do it but we can buy into the philosophy by buying into the brand!’
    • ‘To tell you the truth, I bought into that as well - and boy were we wrong.’
    • ‘In the meantime one or two member states have said they did not consider themselves to be fully buying into that.’
    • ‘Those who purchase goods in a world market are also buying into the ideology of the world capitalist economy.’
    • ‘We've got a self-improvement system which is pretty unique in the bus industry and the staff are buying into it.’
    • ‘We accept the premise that parents must be convinced to buy into any reform agenda.’
    • ‘How one takes the story as it progresses to its surprise conclusion depends a great deal on whether one buys into the film's particular brand of Christian mysticism.’
    • ‘‘When I started doing research for my dissertation I discovered that women weren't really buying into it,’ she said.’
    • ‘He had to make things up on the spot of course and fortunately, the teacher had bought it.’
    • ‘But because North Americans have been conditioned to equate success with owning a huge, new house with a huge yard, we keep buying into the illusion.’
    • ‘The latter groups are so worried about elections and ratings that they are mucking up clear thinking, and our society is buying into their flawed theories.’
    accept, agree to, consent to, assent to, acquiesce in, concur in, accede to, give one's blessing to, bless, give one's seal of approval to, give one's stamp of approval to, rubber-stamp, say yes to
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  • 1A purchase.

    ‘wine is rarely a good buy in duty-free shops’
    • ‘Our picks are both in buys and short sales and 95% of the stocks we recommend have options, which allow you to trade with a smaller amount of cash.’
    • ‘One of the first big buys, or big bargains that the store set up today was a 75 percent sale on men's shirts.’
    • ‘Yet the question remains, is the sector an attractive buy to investors?’
    • ‘However, shopping wisely - with an eye on bargain buys - should soften the blow to your bank balance.’
    • ‘Educational buys and other pilot programs are of little value.’
    • ‘We have already seen auctions and so called bargain buys, these are the words of the desperate.’
    • ‘Save your trades and bargain buys for starting pitchers and position players.’
    • ‘British bargain buys are too few and far between.’
    • ‘He has consistently proved to have the happy knack of picking up bargain buys and nurturing them into top class players and he is ready to follow the same formula at Maine Road.’
    • ‘He's had to rely on bargain buys, on his fantastic eye for young talent and on his players consistently overperforming.’
    • ‘Investors looking for profitable buys are also among the first potential buyers, as well as people living in other parts of Bradford.’
    • ‘The palate can be varied, but at its best the soft summer fruit, leather and spice make it a bargain buy.’
    purchase, deal, bargain, investment, acquisition, addition, gain, asset, possession, holding
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    1. 1.1An act of purchasing something.
      ‘a drug buy’
      • ‘At least 25 percent of knife sales are impulse buys, so concentrate on high-margin models in your premium space.’
      • ‘Gun cleaning products are often purchased as impulse buys.’
      • ‘But for those who believe in watching the buys and sales of insiders it is an interesting move, particularly when it is backed up by another key company official's deals.’
      • ‘And he did not keep detailed records of his alleged drug buys.’
      • ‘She described going to a drug buy in a pub to get more stuff.’
      • ‘Good chance they're carrying weapons and drugs, having just made a big buy in the city.’
      • ‘And because these stocks often are volatile, investors can score with well-timed buys.’
      • ‘There are now more mobile upgrade purchases than new buys in the UK.’
      • ‘Across the UK in 2004, directors' dealings remained consistently above a ratio of five buys to every sale - more than double the average historic ratio.’
      • ‘We must program and structure our buys so that private sector producers can bid competitively and set up their production processes intelligently.’
      • ‘For instance, the fund may join a consortium of investors organized to fund a quick buy and sale of a piece.’
      • ‘He never asked Felix to wear a wire, never marked the money he gave Felix for drug buys.’
      • ‘Hearings last month revealed he often wrote notes about his alleged drug buys on his legs.’
      • ‘They didn't meet a damn person that might tip them to a job, a drug buy, or anything else.’


  • buy it

    • informal Be killed.

      pass away, pass on, lose one's life, depart this life, expire, breathe one's last, draw one's last breath, meet one's end, meet one's death, lay down one's life, be no more, perish, be lost, go the way of the flesh, go the way of all flesh, go to glory, go to one's last resting place, go to meet one's maker, cross the great divide, cross the styx
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  • buy time

    • Delay an event temporarily so as to have longer to improve one's own position.

      • ‘Clearly, both parties in the process are, in the main, buying time, and there is little by way of a concrete strategy for resolution.’
      • ‘And I think it buys him time to get his policy across and build some support for it.’
      • ‘Transferring attention to others was a comic's way of buying time for himself; time to think of superior, alternative gags.’
      • ‘Freezing also buys time, holding the material in suspended animation until the work of cleaning and repairing begins.’
      • ‘There's always hope that talks will lead to some collateral benefit - such as buying time for policy-makers without any new ideas.’
      • ‘‘We aren't buying time, we have never had a timeline for the signing of the proposed peace agreement,’ he said.’
      • ‘But it buys time in the hope of getting a better eventual mix of investments and in the expectation that share prices generally will pick up.’
      • ‘But the suspension buys time, if only a few months, and raises the stakes for a resumption.’
      • ‘Or is he buying time to deal with his detractors and re-emerge?’
      • ‘He also realised that Britain was not well prepared for war and that he needed to buy time to improve Britain's military position.’
      linger, dally, take one's time, drag one's feet, be slow, hold back, fall behind, lag behind, dawdle, loiter, not keep pace, waste time
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Old English bycgan, of Germanic origin.