What Does Buy Something Out Mean?

Buy Out Meaning

Definition: To purchase everything that is available.

This may be of an item, or it may be of a business.

If you buy someone out of bread, for example, you have bought all the bread that person has.

 If you buy a restaurant out for the night, you have paid the restaurant what it would earn that night, and you have private use of the venue.

If you buy a company out, you have purchased all its shares, rights, and interests and are the new owner of the company.

Origin of To Buy Out

Buy out, as a phrasal verb, meaning, purchase someone’s estate and turn him out of it, dates back to the 1640s. In this old usage, the idea is that you are forcing someone to leave, or get out of, his estate. Since you are paying money for him to leave, you are, essentially, buying them out.

The phrase was later expanded to buying out the goods within a business. Hundreds of years ago, this would essentially mean that you are buying the business as well, as it was hard to come by goods to replenish the store.

In the December 1835 edition of the Richmond Enquirer, we can see the phrase in this sense.

  • Having bought out the concern of Powell & Atkinson, I would adopt this method of informing my friends and acquaintances in the country, that I shall continue the Grocery and Commission business at the old stand adjoining.

Examples of To Buy Out

Meaning of buy out In the modern day, buy out is most often used in a business sense.

For example,

  • Facebook bought out Whatsapp.


  • Tom bought out his partner and now runs the company solo.

It is less common to say,

  • Justin Bieber bought out a movie theatre for Selena Gomez’s birthday.


  • The millionaire bought out the store of candy for his son’s fifth birthday.

More Examples

  • German insurer Allianz is set to pay €160 million to buy out the minority shareholders in its Irish subsidiary. –Irish Times
  • He retained his ownership stake in the MDA property and agreed to buy out Bluerock when the New York firm decided early last year that it wanted to exit the investment. –Crain’s Chicago Business


The phrase to buy something out is to buy all of something so that the original owner has nothing left.