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[pur-chuh s] /ˈpɜr tʃəs/
verb (used with object), purchased, purchasing.
to acquire by the payment of money or its equivalent; buy.
to acquire by effort, sacrifice, flattery, etc.
to influence by a bribe.
to be sufficient to buy:
Twenty dollars purchases a subscription.
Law. to acquire (land or other property) by means other than inheritance.
to move, haul, or raise, especially by applying mechanical power.
to get a leverage on; apply a lever, pulley, or other aid to.
Obsolete. to procure, acquire, or obtain.
verb (used without object), purchased, purchasing.
to buy something.
acquisition by the payment of money or its equivalent; buying, or a single act of buying.
something that is purchased or bought.
something purchased, with respect to value in relation to price; buy:
At three for a dollar they seemed like a good purchase.
Law. the acquisition of land or other property by means other than inheritance.
acquisition by means of effort, labor, etc.:
the purchase of comfort at the price of freedom.
a lever, pulley, or other device that provides mechanical advantage or power for moving or raising a heavy object.
an effective hold or position for applying power in moving or raising a heavy object; leverage.
any means of applying or increasing power, influence, etc.
the annual return or rent from land.
a firm grip or grasp, footing, etc., on something.
Obsolete, booty.
Origin of purchase
before 1150; (v.) Middle English purchasen < Anglo-French purchacer to seek to obtain, procure (Old French pourchacier), equivalent to pur- (< Latin prō pro1) + chacer to chase1; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French purchas (Old French porchas), derivative of the v.
Related forms
purchaser, noun
mispurchase, verb (used with object), mispurchased, mispurchasing.
nonpurchase, noun
nonpurchaser, noun
overpurchase, verb (used with object), overpurchased, overpurchasing.
prepurchase, noun, verb (used with object), prepurchased, prepurchasing.
prepurchaser, noun
quasi-purchased, adjective
unpurchased, adjective
1. get, obtain, procure. See buy. 15. winch, capstan.
1. sell. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for purchaser
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To be a purchaser is bad enough; but to be the purveyor thereof—ugh!

    Trilby George Du Maurier
  • The plaintiff thereupon let the purchaser carry off the wood.

    The Common Law Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • purchaser and vendor simultaneously closed, and then suddenly opened, one of their hands or some of their fingers.

  • On his return he announced that the purchaser proposed four thousand francs.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • Well raffle it, then, he suggested, still feigning that he believed he would get a purchaser.

    Anecdotes of the Great War Carleton Britton Case
  • They had shared the fate of the tapestries, and were here awaiting a purchaser.

    The Dead Command Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • He is a purchaser of labor, and like every other purchaser wants to get that commodity at the lowest figure.

  • A public means a purchaser, and of course the writer must live.

    The Enjoyment of Art Carleton Noyes
  • The purchaser pays for the property in monthly payments extending over twenty years.

    A Ten Year War Jacob A. Riis
British Dictionary definitions for purchaser


verb (transitive)
to obtain (goods, etc) by payment
to obtain by effort, sacrifice, etc: to purchase one's freedom
to draw, haul, or lift (a load) with the aid of mechanical apparatus
to acquire (an estate) other than by inheritance
something that is purchased, esp an article bought with money
the act of buying
acquisition of an estate by any lawful means other than inheritance
a rough measure of the mechanical advantage achieved by a lever
a firm foothold, grasp, etc, as for climbing or levering something
a means of achieving some influence, advantage, etc
Derived Forms
purchaser, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French porchacier to strive to obtain, from por- for +chacier to chase1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for purchaser

c.1300, from Anglo-French, Old French porchaceor, agent noun from porchacier (see purchase (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.


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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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