1

I found this line while I was reading:

That commercial said that this product would help me lose weight in one week. I’m not buying into that idea.

While I somehow understood the meaning of the whole sentence by reading between the lines, I could not grasp the whole idea of the phrase when I isolated it from the rest of the sentence.

I tried to find decent definitions on the web but they could not properly give the proper use of this phrase (since there seemed to be different views on it). Could anyone please enlighten me on this topic? Thank you so much! :)

  • Please provide some context on the usage you’re interested in. – Jim Jul 10 '15 at 2:23
  • I found this line while I was reading: "That commercial said that this product would help me lose weight in one week. I’m not buying into that idea." While I somehow understood the meaning of the whole sentence by reading between the lines, I could not grasp the whole idea of the phrase when I isolated it from the rest of the sentence. Thanks @Jim – Shaira Jul 10 '15 at 3:36
1

The example that Elliot Frisch gave was for the figurative use of "buy", not of the idiom "buy into".

Buy into (or buy in) has a more specific meaning: to agree to/ approve a {project/course of action}.
See definition (2) at http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/buy+in

It is often used in businees contexts, where someone proposing a project must get management buy-in (noun) before starting the project.

This is still based on the literal sense of "buy", since the management is implicitly approving the expenditure of funds, as well as time and resources, on the project.

Sometime this is called blessing the project, on the analogy of a religious blessing rite. That is, a project can go forward once the "gods" in the executive suite have looked on it favorably, as something worthwhile.

  • I see your point Mr. @Brian Hitchcock. Thank you for explaining it clearly :) – Shaira Jul 10 '15 at 10:14
  • I'm not convinced the business context is relevant to whether or not to include the preposition into after figurative buy [an idea]. I think it's effectively just an intensifier. That's to say I'm not buying that! is the idiomatic standard for I don't believe that!, but the relatively "marked" form I'm not buying into that! more decisively conveys I want to keep well away from that idea! (I'm not even prepared to entertain it as a possible way of thinking). – FumbleFingers Aug 2 at 16:58
0

The word buy has a number of different senses (some of them idiomatic or colloquial) depending on context and associated words (like in, into, and out). Especially relevant to the sentence you use as your example are these definitions in Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary:

buy ... vt ... 5 : ACCEPT, BELIEVE {I don't buy that hooey} — often used with into ... buy into : to purchase a portion of or interest in {the TV network bought into its local football team}

The relevant meaning for your purposes is definition 5 ("ACCEPT, BELIEVE")—which is indeed the same response given in Elliott Frisch's answer—but a couple of additional points are worth making here. First, notwithstanding Merriam-Webster's comment that buy in this sense is often used with into, it is also often not used with into or any other helping word. For example:

Spicoli says he worked all night on his essay, but I'm not buying it.

is a very common use of buy in the definition 5 sense. Second, the other meaning of "buying into" quoted from the Eleventh Collegiate above can raise problems of ambiguity in certain situations. Consider this example:

Lester says he has a new scheme that will net him—and anyone who helps him set it up—millions of dollars, but I'm not buying into it.

Here is the speaker saying that he doesn't believe Lester's claim about the riches to be harvested from his new scheme? Or is he saying that he isn't going to purchase an interest in the scheme in order to profit from it later if it goes well?

Another variable (not noted by Merriam-Webster) is that the phrase "buying in" sometimes appears in place of "buying into" in the sense of purchasing a portion of some undertaking as an investment—as in the classic Swamp Dogg album from 1981, I'm Not Selling Out/I'm Buying In.

Yet another phrase that in recent years has gained considerable popularity—in this case, as a term in business jargon—is buy-in, which refers to a commitment by participants in an endeavor to support it with their best efforts.

With all of these similar-sounding forms of buy, buy in, and buy into, it is a good idea to look very closely at the context of the remarks where the phrase appears, to help you figure out which of the group of meanings the speaker or writer actually intends.

  • Thank you so much Mr. @Sven Yargs. This is quite a comprehensive explanation. I really appreciate it! :) – Shaira Jul 10 '15 at 10:13
2

I believe you are looking for the informal meaning of buy into (from the free dictionary)

To accept the truth or feasibility of: The officer didn't buy my lame excuse for speeding.

It's a metaphor in which one person is selling (an idea) and another is buying, or not, what the other is promoting.

  • Thank you so much for the swift response, Mr. @ElliotFrisch :) – Shaira Jul 10 '15 at 3:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.