from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To obtain in exchange for money or its equivalent; buy.
  • transitive verb To acquire by effort; earn.
  • transitive verb To pull or haul by means of a mechanical device, such as a winch.
  • noun The act or an instance of buying.
  • noun Something bought.
  • noun A hold or position that allows the application of power, as in moving something.
  • noun A device, such as a pulley, used to obtain mechanical advantage.
  • noun A means or advantage that allows the increase of power or influence.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Acquisition; the obtaining or procuring of something by effort, labor, sacrifice, work, conquest, art, etc., or by the payment of money or its equivalent; procurement; acquirement.
  • noun That which is acquired or obtained otherwise than by inheritance; gain; acquisitions; winnings; specifically, that which is obtained by the payment of money or its equivalent.
  • noun Prey; booty; plunder; hence, ill-gotten gain or wealth.
  • noun Means of acquisition or gain; occupation.
  • noun In law: The act of obtaining or acquiring an estate in lands, etc., in any manner other than by inheritance or escheat.
  • noun The acquisition of property by contract.
  • noun The acquisition of property by contract for a valuable consideration.
  • noun The suing out and obtaining of a writ.
  • noun Value; advantage; worth: as, to buy an estate at twenty years' purchase (that is, at a price equal to twenty times its annual value, or the total return from it for twenty years).
  • noun Attempt; endeavor.
  • noun Course; way; departure.
  • noun The acquisition of position, promotion, etc., by the payment of money. See purchase system, below.
  • noun Firm or advantageous hold by which power may be exerted; specifically, any mechanical power, force, or contrivance which may be advantageously used in moving, raising, or removing heavy bodies; in nautical use, a tackle of any kind for multiplying power.
  • noun A knob or raised thumb-piece, allowing the hand which holds the handle to throw back the hinged cover of a tankard, beer-mug, or similar vessel.
  • To gain, obtain, or acquire; secure, procure, or obtain in any way other than by inheritance or by payment of money or its equivalent; especially, to secure or obtain by effort, labor, risk, sacrifice, etc.: as, to purchase peace by concessions; to purchase favor with flattery.
  • To secure, procure, or obtain by expenditure of money or its equivalent; buy: as, to purchase provisions, lands, or houses.
  • To expiate or recompense by a fine or forfeit.
  • [⟨ purchase, n., 10.] To apply a purchase to; raise or move by mechanical power: as, to purchase an anchor.
  • To steal.
  • To put forth efforts to obtain anything; strive.
  • To bring something about; manage.
  • To acquire wealth.
  • Nautical, to draw in the cable: as, the capstan purchases apace.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To pursue and obtain; to acquire by seeking; to gain, obtain, or acquire.
  • transitive verb To obtain by paying money or its equivalent; to buy for a price.
  • transitive verb To obtain by any outlay, as of labor, danger, or sacrifice, etc..
  • transitive verb obsolete To expiate by a fine or forfeit.
  • transitive verb To acquire by any means except descent or inheritance.
  • transitive verb To buy for a price.
  • transitive verb To apply to (anything) a device for obtaining a mechanical advantage; to get a purchase upon, or apply a purchase to.
  • noun obsolete The act of seeking, getting, or obtaining anything.
  • noun The act of seeking and acquiring property.
  • noun The acquisition of title to, or properly in, anything for a price; buying for money or its equivalent.
  • noun That which is obtained, got, or acquired, in any manner, honestly or dishonestly; property; possession; acquisition.
  • noun That which is obtained for a price in money or its equivalent.
  • noun Any mechanical hold, or advantage, applied to the raising or removing of heavy bodies, as by a lever, a tackle, capstan, and the like; also, the apparatus, tackle, or device by which the advantage is gained.
  • noun (Law) Acquisition of lands or tenements by other means than descent or inheritance, namely, by one's own act or agreement.
  • noun [Obs.] robbery.
  • noun the money paid, or contracted to be paid, for anything bought.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English purchasen, to pursue, purchase, from Old French purchacier : pur-, forth (from Latin prō-; see per in Indo-European roots) + chacier, to chase; see chase.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English purchasen, from Anglo-Norman purchacer ("seek to obtain") from pur- (Latin pro-) + chac(i)er ("to chase, pursue"). Compare Old French porchacier ("to follow, to chase"), which has given French pourchasser ("to chase without relent").



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