We’re buying into the idea that Tim Bowen is the master of Your English.

‘We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and success rather than learning to think critically and to challenge.’ If you buy into an idea, you start to believe it, often because a lot of other people believe it. Buying into a business is rather different as it means to buy part of a business, especially with a view to eventually gaining control of it.

If you buy someone off, you pay them money or give them something so that they will do something dishonest or something that is against their principles, as in ‘His rise to power involved buying off a whole host of local politicians who might have opposed him’.

To buy out means to pay money to someone so that you control all of something that you previously owned together, as in ‘The other directors have offered to buy me out’. The noun buyout is used with the same meaning, as in ‘The company went into liquidation last week and employees are now pinning their hopes on a management buyout’. 

In British English, to buy out can also be used to mean to pay money so that someone can leave the armed forces before the time that they had originally agreed, as in ‘He was desperate to leave the army, so we raised the cash to buy him out’.

If you buy something up, you buy large amounts of something or all of something that is available, often in order to stop someone else from doing so, as in ‘Property developers have been buying up vast areas of land just outside the town’.