Definition of purchase in English:



[with object]
  • 1Acquire (something) by paying for it; buy.

    ‘Mr Gill spotted the manuscript at a local auction and purchased it for £1,500’
    • ‘Added to his mortgage, he was forced to seek a loan from his credit union all in a desperate effort last year to purchase his children's much-needed schoolbooks.’
    • ‘The firm is able to build cheaply by purchasing land that has no prospect of alternative development, on deferred completion terms.’
    • ‘The offset programmes may involve the provision of investments, transfer of know-how or commitments to purchase local commodities.’
    • ‘Since no one wants to purchase them the auction is handled a little different - the bidding proceeds as normal but the first player to drop out acquires the item.’
    • ‘I found this book incredibly inspiring and I promised myself that I would make an effort to purchase as much locally grown foodstuff as possible.’
    • ‘Just visit your local outdoor shop and purchase a good set of waterproofs that blend in with the countryside.’
    • ‘Never before in Asia has the general public had the opportunity to bid at an auction where they can purchase brand new luxury villas in a project of this quality.’
    • ‘They look at what has been obtained and what is purchased by the trustee is taken for the benefit of the wards.’
    • ‘New modes for the vehicle are obtained as power-ups, purchased in your factories.’
    • ‘Analysts say with the prospect of RMB appreciation, more investors are choosing to purchase the currency hoping to benefit from the revaluation.’
    • ‘Do you accept that some interest assigned to that part of the loan which went to purchasing the investment property is deductible?’
    • ‘Consumer sovereignty means that people can choose to purchase, or to obtain, whatever they want.’
    • ‘It now costs less to purchase an investment property since the budget, with the reduction of stamp duty and the availability of better priced products in good locations.’
    • ‘She said offers had been received and they would like to see the property being purchased by locals.’
    • ‘Children are taught to budget the use of this money, £8 per week under age 16 in two instalments to purchase items from the local shop on their accompanied visits.’
    • ‘You can often pick up bargains in purchasing a car that someone brought in to this country on their own.’
    • ‘You may have delayed our efforts to purchase our own sound system, and you have delayed our ultimate aim to sponsor a local children's charity.’
    • ‘Those in a position to purchase a tax-based property investment should do so before the end of the year so they can take the available relief into account on their latest tax return.’
    • ‘The school will be built on a new site in the village and the plans are subject to the council purchasing land and obtaining planning permission.’
    • ‘The number of investors purchasing residential property for letting has dropped back to historic levels.’
    buy, acquire, obtain, pick up, snap up, take, secure, procure, come by, pay for, shop for, invest in, put money into
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic Obtain or achieve with effort or suffering.
      ‘the victory was purchased by the death of Rhiwallon’
      obtain, acquire, come by, carry off, come to have, get, receive, gain, earn, win, come into, come in for, take possession of, take receipt of, be given
      View synonyms
  • 2Nautical
    Haul up (a rope, cable, or anchor) by means of a pulley or lever.


  • 1mass noun The action of buying something.

    ‘the large number of videos currently available for purchase’
    count noun ‘she made her purchases carefully’
    • ‘All customers are entitled to free upgrades and maintenance for a period of two years from original purchase.’
    • ‘Work began on the car's conversion in the spring of 2000, after the purchase of trucks and motors from the Seashore Trolley Museum.’
    • ‘A repayment for her husband's outstanding debt for the purchase of Nordstern is still deducted each month from her welfare cheque.’
    • ‘Most of the population are very unlikely to be offered a vaccine. Given these limitations, the health department has chosen to make its block purchase of Tamiflu.’
    • ‘From vending machine purchases to Morale, Welfare and Recreation tickets, any cash purchase aboard ship will require a Navy Cash Card.’
    • ‘I'd already found a buyer for another block, and after completing the purchase, I put the other two on the market.’
    • ‘The HMAS Leeuwin Trust Fund supports the purchase of the sword on a biennial basis.’
    • ‘De Beers has faced mounting pressure over its purchase of diamonds from these war-torn areas.’
    • ‘He was also charged with tendering a false cheque from First Citizens Bank for the purchase of a pirogue and a Yamaha engine valued at $65,000.’
    • ‘Dyke says the purchase of the HCVs represents a continuation of Cabot's long-time relationship with Scherping Systems.’
    • ‘Avid boaters, and history and antique buffs, the pair are elated by the purchase.’
    • ‘The purchase by Indonesia of arms from China, for instance, would raise alarm.’
    • ‘The object of the purchase was that the Block should be converted into residential flats which would then be sold on.’
    • ‘This lead to the purchase of another antique designed and built in the Knutson yard near New York City in 1963.’
    • ‘The most intriguing purchase to date has been that of the Varyag.’
    • ‘A handheld computer owner should register the purchase with the manufacturer to obtain a warranty and technical support.’
    • ‘However renovation work would use up all the council's funds and that upset 13 councillors from across the political spectrum who wanted to block the purchase.’
    • ‘While the purchase was cleared by regulators, it led to such unfavorable press that Green decided to back down.’
    • ‘A typical investment decision problem underlies the purchase of the three pressing machines in 1922.’
    • ‘Some obligation is raw debt, used to leverage the purchase of machinery or more farmland.’
    1. 1.1count noun A thing that has been bought.
      ‘she stowed her purchases in the car’
      • ‘As a consumer, it was your duty to have a million desires in order to fuel that commerce with your purchases.’
      • ‘The owner had not advised the harbormaster of his new purchase.’
      • ‘‘Unless the emission test and labeling are free of charge, customers will question them and probably cancel their car purchases,’ she said.’
      • ‘The Army has instituted numerous goals to increase the use of commercial purchases.’
      • ‘They had a light lunch on board the ship, after stowing their purchases.’
      • ‘Indeed, it appears that the less sleaze-inducing internet route for buying cars is picking up steam - with plenty of car purchases originating online.’
      • ‘Government purchases stimulate the production of the goods that the government buys.’
      • ‘The next C&O stock car purchases didn't take place until the mid-1930s.’
      • ‘China's economic planners are hoping to unleash decades of pent-up consumer demand for houses, cars, and smaller purchases funded by bank loans.’
      • ‘As you enter the home straight, you must be able to stow the purchases away within three minutes of entering and disposing of carrier bags where they will not be found.’
      • ‘They wanted to try to get some action done on sweatshop labour and the products that the university purchases.’
      • ‘That helped nationwide car purchases rise 55 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the Oauto Web site, which compiles auto-industry data.’
      • ‘Home improvements, car purchases, holidays, computers, education and medical expenses are among the areas for loans most sought after by members.’
      • ‘I want you to know about the concerns that I have about my $70,000 purchase.’
      • ‘A lot of citizens base their own purchases on what product has passed the rigorous demands of police work.’
      • ‘By the time consumers carry their purchases home, the product will tend to be off-flavor.’
      • ‘Climbing aboard, they stow their purchases within the truck's cabin, where they will lie protected from wind and possible rain.’
      • ‘This channel is especially attractive for companies marketing big-ticket, infrequent purchases, like cars or a house, Fecko says.’
      • ‘When they'd completed their shopping, they put their purchases in his car, and then drove to the restaurant.’
      • ‘This method of documenting the sale also applied in the second example of a cash purchase where the replacement car was new.’
    2. 1.2Law The acquisition of property by one's personal action rather than by inheritance.
      • ‘The Madam Justice dealt with an appeal in which the construction of an agreement of purchase and sale of real property was in issue.’
      • ‘This case concerned a contract for the sale and purchase of a property in London, the title to which was registered.’
      • ‘The insurance clause in the agreement of purchase and sale between the parties states as follows.’
      • ‘The clause in issue (clause N of the agreement of purchase and sale) is set out above.’
      • ‘Simply put, can the commission clause in the agreement of purchase and sale amend the commission rate stipulated in the listing agreement?’
      acquisition, investment, buy, order, deal, bargain, property, asset, possession, holding
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3archaic The annual rent or return from land.
      ‘a lease valued at seven year's purchase’
  • 2mass noun Firm contact or grip.

    ‘the horse's hooves fought for purchase on the slippery pavement’
    in singular ‘an attempt to gain a purchase on the soft earth’
    • ‘They were also smoother, new growth, and it was harder for Zal to find purchase on the slippery, slightly wet surfaces.’
    • ‘She scrabbled in vain for purchase on the stone floor, which was smooth from the years of pedestrian traffic pounding the irregularities into powder.’
    • ‘The bands in this second category distinguish themselves by gaining purchase on a sound so unique and texturally diverse that they lack a clear antecedent.’
    • ‘The contention that we gain some purchase on the post-Cold War order by regarding it as a phase of peacemaking seems to depend on an assumption that it is the very act of peacemaking that issues in the subsequent order.’
    • ‘Such wider knowledge is firmer purchase on the worldly things and neighbors God has given us to honor and conserve.’
    • ‘The people who are meant to be our leaders no longer get any real purchase on the public mind.’
    • ‘Town's best chance fell to Michael Duffy who met a left wing cross from Cormac O'Malley with a glancing header but he didn't get enough purchase on the ball and it flashed wide.’
    • ‘Not having experienced the desperation of oppression, we have little purchase on the extremism it might engender.’
    • ‘As the liberal establishment moved left under radical pressure, conservatives gained purchase on the political center.’
    • ‘By being funny, outsiders can gain access to and purchase on a social mainstream from which they might be excluded.’
    • ‘Maybe Hanson is taking aim at the American isolationist Right, but the argument he takes on has considerable purchase on the little Englanders the British Left have become morphed into recently.’
    • ‘It took him a few more moments to figure out how to gain purchase on the surface with his feet, but as soon as he had that, he was off!’
    • ‘It anchors itself by gaining purchase on the pitted, rough limestone, and then stretches the upper half of its body into the air of the abyss.’
    • ‘My Dad is a quiet man with the soul of a poet, and very little purchase on the world of things and possessions.’
    • ‘It didn't come in his lifetime; a catalyst and a visionary, he seemed to be moving too fast to gain purchase on his value system.’
    • ‘We are as much in need of critical purchase on the medical imaging that creates our illusion of the real body we inhabit as we are of ways to rethink documentary photography or graphic design.’
    • ‘He flailed around, trying to gain purchase on anything he could.’
    • ‘On this first attempt Pete couldn't grab anything with which to haul himself in and his other leg, not in the sling, was flailing around trying to get some purchase on the slippery slope.’
    • ‘They skated around for a bit, mostly with him just trying to help her keep her precarious purchase on the ground.’
    • ‘The opinions of others have never had much purchase on him.’
    grip, firm contact, attachment, hold, foothold, footing, toehold, fingerhold, anchorage, support, grasp
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1count noun A pulley or similar device for moving heavy objects.


Middle English: from Old French pourchacier ‘seek to obtain or bring about’, the earliest sense also in English, which soon gave rise to the senses ‘gain’ (hence, in nautical use, the notion of ‘gaining’ one portion of rope after another) and ‘buy’.