verb (used with object), bought, buy·ing.

  1. to acquire the possession of, or the right to, by paying or promising to pay an equivalent, especially in money; purchase.
  2. to acquire by exchange or concession: to buy favor with flattery.
  3. to hire or obtain the services of: The Yankees bought a new center fielder.
  4. to bribe: Most public officials cannot be bought.
  5. to be the monetary or purchasing equivalent of: Ten dollars buys less than it used to.
  6. Chiefly Theology. to redeem; ransom.
  7. Cards. to draw or be dealt (a card): He bought an ace.
  8. Informal.
    1. to accept or believe: I don’t buy that explanation.
    2. to be deceived by: He bought the whole story.

verb (used without object), bought, buy·ing.

  1. to be or become a purchaser.


  1. an act or instance of buying.
  2. something bought or to be bought; purchase: That coat was a sensible buy.
  3. a bargain: The couch was a real buy.

Verb Phrases

  1. buy down, to lower or reduce (the mortgage interest rate) by means of a buy-down.
  2. buy in,
    1. to buy a supply of; accumulate a stock of.
    2. to buy back one’s own possession at an auction.
    3. to undertake a buy-in.

    Also buy into.

  3. buy into, to purchase a share, interest, or membership in: They tried to buy into the club but were not accepted.
  4. buy off, to get rid of (a claim, opposition, etc.) by payment; purchase the noninterference of; bribe: The corrupt official bought off those who might expose him.
  5. buy out, to secure all of (an owner or partner’s) share or interest in an enterprise: She bought out an established pharmacist and is doing very well.
  6. buy up, to buy as much as one can of something or as much as is offered for sale: He bought up the last of the strawberries at the fruit market.


  1. buy it, Slang. to get killed: He bought it at Dunkirk.

verb buys, buying or bought (mainly tr)

  1. to acquire by paying or promising to pay a sum of money or the equivalent; purchase
  2. to be capable of purchasingmoney can’t buy love
  3. to acquire by any exchange or sacrificeto buy time by equivocation
  4. (intr) to act as a buyer
  5. to bribe or corrupt; hire by or as by bribery
  6. slang to accept as true, practical, etc
  7. (intr foll by into) to purchase shares of (a company)we bought into General Motors
  8. (tr) theol (esp of Christ) to ransom or redeem (a Christian or the soul of a Christian)
  9. have bought it slang to be killed


  1. a purchase (often in the phrases good or bad buy)

v.Old English bycgan (past tense bohte) “to buy, pay for, acquire; redeem, ransom; procure; get done,” from Proto-Germanic *bugjanan (cf. Old Saxon buggjan, Old Norse byggja, Gothic bugjan), of unknown origin, not found outside Germanic. The surviving spelling is southwest England dialect; the word was generally pronounced in Old English and Middle English with a -dg- sound as “budge,” or “bidge.” Meaning “believe, accept as true” first recorded 1926. Related: Bought; buying. To buy time “prevent further deterioration but make no improvement” is attested from 1946. n.“a purchase,” especially a worthwhile one, 1879, American English, from buy (v.).

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