The Past Tense of Buy: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Have you ever got stuck on the correct past tense of the English verb buy? This article will explain the conjugations of the english language word buy and also define buy and give you all the information you need about the english grammar of the word.

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What is the Definition of the Word Buy?

The word buy is defined as:

Transitive Verb

  •  to acquire possession, ownership, or rights to the use or services of by payment especially of money: purchase
    • buy a car
    • buying stock in the company
    • bought us dinner
  • to obtain in exchange for something often at a sacrifice
    • They bought peace with their freedom.
  • Christianity: redeem
    • bought us with his blood
  • Bribe, hire
    • buy a public official
  • to be the purchasing equivalent of
    • The dollar buys less today than it used to
  • Accept, believe
    • I don’t buy that hooey. —often used with into
    • buy into a compromise

Intransitive Verb

  • to make a purchase
    • Now is a good time to buy.
  • buy into
    • to purchase a portion of or interest in
    • the TV network bought into its local football team
  • buy it or buy the farm
    • to get killed 
  • buy time
  • to delay an imminent action or decision: stall


  •  something of value at a favorable price
    • Especially: bargain
      • It’s a real buy at that price.
  • an act of acquiring possession, ownership, or rights to the use or services of something by payment especially of money : an act of buying, purchase
    • an undercover drug buy

How do you Conjugate the Irregular Verb Buy?

Here are some verb conjugations of the american english word buy: 

Base form (infinitive): Buy

Present Tense/ Present Participle/ Simple PresentSimple Past Tense/ Past Participle of BuyFuture Tense
I buyboughtAm buying
You buyboughtAre buying
He, she, it buysboughtIs buying
We buyboughtAre buying
They buyboughtAre buying

The History and Origin of the Word

The word buy has been used as a verb since before the 12th century. It was used at this time period and before to describe purchasing goods. You can find that much later than that the word buy was used as a noun. The first date found where buy was used as a noun was in 1879 used in the sense of “it’s a real buy at that price”. 

The root language that you can trace the word buy back to is first and foremost Middle English. The word in Middle English was spelled “byen”. This Middle English word came from Old English “bycgan” and this was similar to Goth “bugjan”. All of these root words meant the same thing, they were verbs and used the first definition above “ to acquire possession, ownership, or rights to the use or services of by payment especially of money: purchase”. 

Synonyms for Buy

  • Cop – catch, capture, purchase
  • Pick up – to obtain by payment 
  • Purchase – to obtain by paying money or its equivalent 
  • Take – to get into one’s hands or into one’s possession, power, or control
  • Bargain – an agreement between parties settling what each gives or receives in a transaction between them or what course of action or policy each pursues in respect to the other
  • Deal – to engage in bargaining 
  • Pennyworth – value for the money spent 
  • Snip – buy, bargain (British)
  • Steal – bargain

Example Sentences of the Word in Context


Next time you need to write the word buy, you will be well prepared for everything you need to know what it is and how to use it efficiently. You should feel confident with the different conjugations, the history of the word, and the definition.