Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: bycgan

buy

1 verb
     
buy1 S1 W1 past tense and past participle bought
1
a) [intransitive and transitive] to get something by paying money for it [≠ sell]:
Where did you buy that dress?
Ricky showed her the painting he'd bought that morning.
buy somebody something
Let me buy you a drink.
buy something for somebody/something
The money will be used to buy equipment for the school.
buy (something) from somebody
It's cheaper to buy direct from the manufacturer.
buy something for $10/£200 etc
Dan bought the car for $2000.
It's much cheaper to buy in bulk (=buy large quantities of something).
b) [transitive] if a sum of money buys something, it is enough to pay for it:
$50 doesn't buy much these days.
buy somebody something
$15 should buy us a pizza and a drink.
2

buy (somebody) time

to deliberately make more time for yourself to do something, for example by delaying a decision:
'Can we talk about it later?' he said, trying to buy a little more time.
3 [transitive] informal to believe something that someone tells you, especially when it is not likely to be true:
'Let's just say it was an accident.' ' He'll never buy that.'
4 [transitive] informal to pay money to someone, especially someone in a position of authority, in order to persuade them to do something dishonest [= bribe]:
People say the judge had been bought by the Mafia.
5

buy something at the cost/expense/price of something

to get something that you want, but only by losing something else:
The town has been careful not to buy prosperity at the expense of its character.
6

somebody bought it

old-fashioned informal someone was killed
7

buy off-plan

if you buy property off-plan, you buy a house, flat etc that is just starting to be built, with an arrangement to pay part of the cost of the property at that time and the balance when the property is finished

buy something ↔ in

phrasal verb
to buy something in large quantities:
Companies are buying in supplies of paper, in case the price goes up.

buy into something

phrasal verb
1 informal to accept that an idea is right and allow it to influence you:
I never bought into this idea that you have to be thin to be attractive.
2 to buy part of a business or organization, especially because you want to control it:
Investors were invited to buy into state-owned enterprises.

buy somebody ↔ off

phrasal verb
to pay someone money to stop them causing trouble or threatening you [= bribe]

buy out

phrasal verb
1BFS

buy somebody/something ↔ out

to buy someone's share of a business or property that you previously owned together, so that you have complete control buyout
2

buy somebody out of something

to pay money so that someone can leave an organization such as the army before their contract has ended

buy something ↔ up

phrasal verb
to quickly buy as much of something as possible, for example land, tickets, or goods:
Much of the land was bought up by property developers.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary