Difference between Buy and Purchase

Key Difference: Buy is to obtain something in exchange for money or goods. Purchase is the act or process of seeking and obtaining something.

Buy and purchase are synonyms. In most of the cases they are used interchangeably, but in some context they are used differently. How? The differences are mentioned below.

According to Dictionary.com ‘Buy’ is:

  • To acquire the possession of, or the right to, by paying or promising to pay an equivalent, especially in money; purchase.
  • To acquire by exchange or concession: to buy favor with flattery.
  • To hire or obtain the services of.
  • To bribe: most public officials cannot be bought.
  • To be the monetary or purchasing equivalent of.

Buy is to obtain something in exchange for money or goods. It is believed to be more casual or informal. If a boy bought a new smartphone, one will congratulate him for his smart buy and not purchase.

According to Dictionary.com, ‘Purchase’ is:

  • 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.
  • To acquire (land or other property) by means other than inheritance.

Purchase is the act or process of seeking and obtaining something. Some examples are a property which a person purchases or a purchase order from a company to a supplier. A property or a company can be purchased, but one can’t buy it. It means everything on the land can be purchased, but one cannot buy the company, i.e. possess what the company stood for. However, in common usuage, the words are often used interchangeably.

Comparison between Buy and Purchase:

 

Buy

Purchase

Meaning

Buy is to obtain something in exchange for money or goods.

Purchase is the act or process of seeking and obtaining something.

Term

Informal

Formal

Examples

  • On that website, there isn’t anything that you can’t buy.
  • Why you want to buy a new mobile?
  • Ten dollars buys less than it used to.
  • As soon as you reach buy the tickets for the cinema.
  • Buy online; you can earn points for the particular products.
  • Twenty dollars purchases a subscription.
  • Shifting to a different country may affect what products are available to purchase.
  • Purchase a new ticket at a higher fare.
  • Go to store now and purchase bed sheets for all the rooms.
  • Your recent smartphone purchase is a very good choice.

Image courtesy: xn--72cb9biak3bkf4byc9h7eqbq6cv.com, exportnotes.com

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