Definition of buy in English:

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Pronunciation: /bī/

verb (buys, buying; past and past participle bought /bôt/)

[with object]
1Obtain in exchange for payment: we had to find some money to buy a house he had been able to buy up hundreds of acres [with two objects]: he bought me a new dress [no object]: had no interest in buying into an entertainment company
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • There was talk of marriage and of pooling their money to buy an even grander house.
  • Several institutional investors are also still buying into the sector and see property as a safer bet to match long-term annuity liabilities.
purchase, acquire, obtain, get, pick up;
take, procure, pay for;
invest in
informal get hold of, snatch up, snap up, grab, score
1.1 (buy someone out) Pay someone to give up an ownership, interest, or share.
Example sentences
  • Several of the clubs had been approached by developers interested in buying them out - one steward describing them as ‘circling sharks’.
  • 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 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.
1.2Procure the loyalty and support of (someone) by bribery: here was a man who could not be bought I’ll buy off the investigators
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He says his money shows that he can't be bought.
1.3 [often with negative] Be a means of obtaining (something) through exchange or payment: money can’t buy happiness
More example sentences
  • The money buys loyalty as well as the basic necessities.
  • At the risk of sounding cliché-ish: Money can't buy loyalty, or love or affection.
  • It has been known for centuries that money does not buy happiness.
1.4Get by sacrifice or great effort: greatness is dearly bought
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He surrendered in October, but it was a prize too dearly bought.
1.5 [no object] Make a profession of purchasing goods for a store or firm.
Example sentences
  • ‘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.’
  • Now that he buys for them he doesn't go overseas but he still works ridiculously long hours.
  • In her present position, she buys for the museum shop and marks inventory.
2 informal 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
More example sentences
  • We accept the premise that parents must be convinced to buy into any reform agenda.
  • To tell you the truth, I bought into that as well - and boy were we wrong.
  • He had to make things up on the spot of course and fortunately, the teacher had bought it.
3 (bought it) informal Used to say that someone has died: his friends had bought it in the jungle


1A purchase: the wine is a good buy at $3.49
More example sentences
  • Investors looking for profitable buys are also among the first potential buyers, as well as people living in other parts of Bradford.
  • Save your trades and bargain buys for starting pitchers and position players.
  • British bargain buys are too few and far between.
purchase, investment, acquisition, gain;
deal, value, bargain
1.1An act of purchasing something: out on a produce buy for the restaurant
More example sentences
  • And he did not keep detailed records of his alleged drug buys.
  • Hearings last month revealed he often wrote notes about his alleged drug buys on his legs.
  • She described going to a drug buy in a pub to get more stuff.



buy the farm

North American informal Die: I refused to admit to my recklessness, even when I nearly bought the farm
More example sentences
  • It made me depressed that 6 of our guys bought the farm.
  • I really lit into that pilot, who didn't seem to comprehend how close we'd come to buying the farm.
  • Florida has been called ‘God's waiting room,’ due to a large chunk of its populace being golden-age refugees from the cold, there to bask in the rays and get a little shuffleboard in before they buy the farm.

buy time

Delay an event temporarily so as to have longer to improve one’s own position.
Example sentences
  • He also realised that Britain was not well prepared for war and that he needed to buy time to improve Britain's military position.
  • 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.
  • Freezing also buys time, holding the material in suspended animation until the work of cleaning and repairing begins.


Old English bycgan, of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with buy

ally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: buy

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