verb (used with object), pur·chased, pur·chas·ing.

  1. to acquire by the payment of money or its equivalent; buy.
  2. to acquire by effort, sacrifice, flattery, etc.
  3. to influence by a bribe.
  4. to be sufficient to buy: Twenty dollars purchases a subscription.
  5. Law. to acquire (land or other property) by means other than inheritance.
  6. to move, haul, or raise, especially by applying mechanical power.
  7. to get a leverage on; apply a lever, pulley, or other aid to.
  8. Obsolete. to procure, acquire, or obtain.

verb (used without object), pur·chased, pur·chas·ing.

  1. to buy something.


  1. acquisition by the payment of money or its equivalent; buying, or a single act of buying.
  2. something that is purchased or bought.
  3. something purchased, with respect to value in relation to price; buy: At three for a dollar they seemed like a good purchase.
  4. Law. the acquisition of land or other property by means other than inheritance.
  5. acquisition by means of effort, labor, etc.: the purchase of comfort at the price of freedom.
  6. a lever, pulley, or other device that provides mechanical advantage or power for moving or raising a heavy object.
  7. an effective hold or position for applying power in moving or raising a heavy object; leverage.
  8. any means of applying or increasing power, influence, etc.
  9. the annual return or rent from land.
  10. a firm grip or grasp, footing, etc., on something.
  11. Obsolete. booty.

verb (tr)

  1. to obtain (goods, etc) by payment
  2. to obtain by effort, sacrifice, etcto purchase one’s freedom
  3. to draw, haul, or lift (a load) with the aid of mechanical apparatus
  4. to acquire (an estate) other than by inheritance


  1. something that is purchased, esp an article bought with money
  2. the act of buying
  3. acquisition of an estate by any lawful means other than inheritance
  4. a rough measure of the mechanical advantage achieved by a lever
  5. a firm foothold, grasp, etc, as for climbing or levering something
  6. a means of achieving some influence, advantage, etc

v.c.1300, “acquire, obtain; get, receive; procure, provide,” also “accomplish or bring about; instigate; cause, contrive, plot; recruit, hire,” from Anglo-French purchaser “go after,” Old French porchacier “search for, procure; purchase; aim at, strive for, pursue eagerly” (11c., Modern French pourchasser), from pur- “forth” (possibly used here as an intensive prefix; see pur-) + Old French chacier “run after, to hunt, chase” (see chase (v.)). Originally to obtain or receive as due in any way, including through merit or suffering; specific sense of “acquire for money, pay money for, buy” is from mid-14c., though the word continued to be used for “to get by conquest in war, obtain as booty” up to 17c. Related: Purchased; purchasing. n.c.1300, purchas, “acquisition, gain;” also, “something acquired or received, a possession; property, goods;” especially “booty, spoil; goods gained by pillage or robbery” (to make purchase was “to seize by robbery”). Also “mercenary soldier, one who fights for booty.” From Anglo-French purchace, Old French porchaz “acquisition, gain, profit; seizing, plunder; search pursuit, effort,” from Anglo-French purchaser, Old French porchacier (see purchase (v.)). From early 14c. as “endeavor, effort, exertion; instigation, contrivance;” late 14c. as “act of acquiring, procurement.” Meaning “that which is bought” is from 1580s. The sense of “hold or position for advantageously applying power” (1711) is extended from the nautical verb meaning “to haul or draw (especially by mechanical power),” often used in reference to hauling up anchors, attested from 1560s. Wif of purchase (early 14c.) was a term for “concubine.”

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