For example, imagine some food company decides to make their fruits permanently free.

Online, you can "order" them (for free), but in person, what do you do? What would be the professional term? You don't "buy" them, since they're free. You could say "take", but IMO that has a slight connotation of stealing, does it not?

And I don't mean when speaking to someone, ie. "I'll pick up some fruits while I'm there". I mean in a Business English way.

For example, if the company limits each customer to 50 apples per person per purchase, how is it possible, in English, for the company to decribe that?

"Limited 50 apples per person per purchase."? Well, it's not a "purchase" if it's free right?

I can't think of any word and it's driving me insane.

P.S. I'm not looking for "gratis" or "on the house" etc. Just a business English word for "purchasing" something for free (a paradox, I know)

  • 1
    You just order free goods on a website.
    – user 66974
    Sep 20, 2023 at 8:28
  • 2
    Why are they giving stuff away? It might depend if it was a charitable thing or a subscription deal or a reward or a sales promotion or something like a state benefit/social security or a government-mandated compensation for past wrongdoings (e.g. if they'd previously ripped off customers and were told to make recompense). A general term such as get or collect would work for picking up, and you could reword your rule to Limited to 50 apples per person per day or per transaction or per order.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 20, 2023 at 8:29
  • 1
    Claim your free fruit at the checkout till. Limited to 50 apples per person per claim. Sep 20, 2023 at 10:23
  • 1
    Why my downvote? Because single-word-requirest that paint themselves into a corner (e.g. it must be a single noun or a single verb) or that ask for a word which must meet an impossible condition (buying something for free) or that are too particular in the set of requirements (a word for the sense of surprise you feel when someone you don't know is knocking at the door after sunset) are driving me insane.
    – TimR
    Sep 20, 2023 at 12:08
  • In BrE the informal "buckshee" would be one possibility.
    – BillJ
    Sep 20, 2023 at 13:04

2 Answers 2


There seems to be some confusion in your question. If the offer is for "free apples", then "Limited 50 apples per person per purchase" would mean that if you make a purchase, then you are entitled to take up to 50 apples. It is the initial "purchase" that is, indeed, a purchase.

If the farm is giving away apples, e.g. the stall outside says "Free Apples! Help yourself" and you take a dozen, then you report:

I've just got these apples for nothing from the farm. / I've just got these apples [for] free from the farm.

There is no special verb as this is the default of "to receive into one's possession" and "for nothing/free" is almost parenthetical.

However, "purchase/buy" adds a layer of meaning and gives us "to exchange money in order "to receive into one's possession"."


The word is “PAY” even though it’s free you still pay. Example is You Pay attention and it didn’t cost you anything but you still must pay for it. I have just received your payment for your attention and I Thank you for it.

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