Definition of buy in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Obtain in exchange for payment.

    ‘he had been able to buy up hundreds of acres’
    with two objects ‘he bought me a new dress’
    ‘we had to find some money to buy a house’
    no object ‘had no interest in buying into an entertainment company’
    • ‘We are of the view that time is now to look for money to buy up the bumper harvest.’
    • ‘I've just started buying property and bought my first about six months ago.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 money may not buy much but you will get paid back your original investment.’
    • ‘Then look at the share of houses that are being bought for investment purposes only.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The yen that are bought, are then exchanged for U.S. dollars, or euros, or other currencies.’
    • ‘More importantly, I had some exciting bruises to flash around, and heaps of people felt sorry for me and bought me drinks.’
    • ‘It was their intention to buy up the supply and then sell it in coffee shops.’
    • ‘He said people bought him drinks during the night but he would only take a sip and then put them aside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Investors buying into the market are finding attractive returns.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The cooker they bought six months ago no longer has a light in the oven so they can see if their roast is done.’
    • ‘Several institutional investors are also still buying into the sector and see property as a safer bet to match long-term annuity liabilities.’
    • ‘Did you log on and buy up the maximum allocation of six tickets per person?’
    • ‘Let's buy up tracts of vulnerable mangrove lands and begin securing at least the future.’
    purchase, make a purchase of, make the purchase of, acquire, obtain, get, pick up, snap up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1buy someone out Pay someone to give up an ownership, interest, or share.
      • ‘Even if you couldn't afford to buy them out totally, you could become a seriously difficulty to them continuing to manufacture the weapons.’
      • ‘Well, dagnabit, if you cant beat them, you can have them buy you out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If they try to keep people out or buy them out, it could get very ugly, very quickly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The company has decided it would be cheaper to buy them out rather than send them the dividend.’
      • ‘Several of the clubs had been approached by developers interested in buying them out - one steward describing them as ‘circling sharks’.’
      • ‘Once the period of investment expires, the businesses are either sold outright to strategic investors, or the company they invested in buys them out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It attracts someone's attention, they buy you out and spend billions in development.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 Procure 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
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3often with negative Be a means of obtaining (something) through exchange or payment.
      ‘money can't buy happiness’
      • ‘It has been known for centuries that money does not buy happiness.’
      • ‘It buys him first bemusement, then solicitation, and finally enmity and a serious whack upside the head.’
      • ‘Disbelief turns to disappointment as I discover that the £150 price tag buys you genuine mink-lined underwear.’
      • ‘Good intent is not the currency of history; it buys you nothing.’
      • ‘This buys you an Aromatic Back Massage, a Mini-Facial, a file and polish and a one-course lunch in the brasserie.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘An ad on this channel buys you notoriety, recognition and helps you reach 10,000 customers a day!’
      • ‘Marketing types know that clever renaming only buys you something when the competition is on the margins of a product's value.’
      • ‘It buys you the am/fm and the ability to hook up your VCR to the stereo.’
      • ‘While that does not make him the owner - which would be illegal under the rules - it buys him a lot of influence.’
      • ‘This sum buys you two hours a month clustered in half-hour telephone appointments, and a follow up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It buys you things like commercials and the ability to travel where you want.’
      • ‘At the risk of sounding cliché-ish: Money can't buy loyalty, or love or affection.’
      • ‘The old saying money cannot buy happiness certainly rings true for one of the most controversial men in rugby league.’
      • ‘Money doesn't buy happiness and most of the time the best people are the people that you mob pass on the street everyday.’
      • ‘And if one does get dropped, a bit of spare change buys you another.’
      • ‘And wealth buys you clean water, sanitation, and healthcare.’
    4. 1.4 Get by sacrifice or great effort.
      ‘greatness is dearly bought’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He knew that every good thing in this world, and in the next, was bought with blood and sacrifice.’
      • ‘But the support of the other members of the world community will be more dearly bought.’
      • ‘It is a rare, though dearly bought, opportunity.’
      • ‘He surrendered in October, but it was a prize too 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.’
    5. 1.5no object Make a profession of purchasing goods for a store or firm.
      • ‘‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had to make things up on the spot of course and fortunately, the teacher had bought it.’
    • ‘Those who purchase goods in a world market are also buying into the ideology of the world capitalist economy.’
    • ‘To tell you the truth, I bought into that as well - and boy were we wrong.’
    • ‘We accept the premise that parents must be convinced to buy into any reform agenda.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Competitors aren't buying into such a radical concept.’
    • ‘‘When I started doing research for my dissertation I discovered that women weren't really buying into it,’ she said.’
    • ‘In the meantime one or two member states have said they did not consider themselves to be fully buying into that.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We've got a self-improvement system which is pretty unique in the bus industry and the staff are buying into it.’
    • ‘But to buy into his sinister conclusions means buying into his level of contempt for the present authority.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘More and more investors are buying into the global reflation story, one enhanced by aggressive rate cuts by major central banks.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
    View synonyms


  • 1A purchase.

    ‘the wine is a good buy at $3.49’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Educational buys and other pilot programs are of little value.’
    • ‘The palate can be varied, but at its best the soft summer fruit, leather and spice make it a bargain buy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Investors looking for profitable buys are also among the first potential buyers, as well as people living in other parts of Bradford.’
    • ‘We have already seen auctions and so called bargain buys, these are the words of the desperate.’
    • ‘He's had to rely on bargain buys, on his fantastic eye for young talent and on his players consistently overperforming.’
    • ‘Save your trades and bargain buys for starting pitchers and position players.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘British bargain buys are too few and far between.’
    purchase, deal, bargain, investment, acquisition, addition, gain, asset, possession, holding
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An act of purchasing something.
      ‘out on a produce buy for the restaurant’
      • ‘Gun cleaning products are often purchased as impulse buys.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are now more mobile upgrade purchases than new buys in the UK.’
      • ‘And because these stocks often are volatile, investors can score with well-timed buys.’
      • ‘They didn't meet a damn person that might tip them to a job, a drug buy, or anything else.’
      • ‘We must program and structure our buys so that private sector producers can bid competitively and set up their production processes intelligently.’
      • ‘At least 25 percent of knife sales are impulse buys, so concentrate on high-margin models in your premium space.’
      • ‘For instance, the fund may join a consortium of investors organized to fund a quick buy and sale of a piece.’
      • ‘She described going to a drug buy in a pub to get more stuff.’
      • ‘And he did not keep detailed records of his alleged drug buys.’
      • ‘Good chance they're carrying weapons and drugs, having just made a big buy in the city.’
      • ‘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.’


  • buy it

    • informal Be killed.

      ‘his friends had bought it in the jungle’
      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
      View synonyms
  • buy time

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

      • ‘Or is he buying time to deal with his detractors and re-emerge?’
      • ‘Transferring attention to others was a comic's way of buying time for himself; time to think of superior, alternative gags.’
      • ‘And I think it buys him time to get his policy across and build some support for it.’
      • ‘‘We aren't buying time, we have never had a timeline for the signing of the proposed peace agreement,’ he said.’
      • ‘But the suspension buys time, if only a few months, and raises the stakes for a resumption.’
      • ‘There's always hope that talks will lead to some collateral benefit - such as buying time for policy-makers without any new ideas.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He also realised that Britain was not well prepared for war and that he needed to buy time to improve Britain's military position.’
      • ‘Freezing also buys time, holding the material in suspended animation until the work of cleaning and repairing begins.’
      • ‘Clearly, both parties in the process are, in the main, buying time, and there is little by way of a concrete strategy for resolution.’
      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
      View synonyms


Old English bycgan, of Germanic origin.