buy off(redirected from bought off)
To pay someone to coerce them into doing something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "buy" and "off." Don't worry, the doorman won't say anything—I bought him off. Her campaign for mayor will be ruined if the public learns how many people she's bought off over the years.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
buy someone off
to bribe someone to ignore what one is doing wrong. Do you think you can buy her off? The mobster tried to buy off the jury.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Pay to get rid of a claim or opposition, or to avoid prosecution, as in He was caught trying to buy off the opposing candidate. [First half of 1600s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To bribe someone in order to ensure cooperation: I didn't get a speeding ticket because I bought off the police officer. The mobster avoided jail by buying the judge off.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.