Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Emptio or Emtio Definition:

Latin for 'purchase' or referring to the contract in which something is bought.

According to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, emptio refers to:

"... the act of buying, purchasing. (Also) the thing bought, a purchase. A deed of purchase."

The term is used in frequent commentaries about the Roman law to refer to the person of the purchaser, though that reference should be to the emptor. The emptio, therefore, has been presented, as the alter-ego of the venditor (Latin, the vendor or seller). However, emptio is the legal transaction - the sale. Emptor refers properly to the person of the purchaser/buyer.

Sometimes presented as emtio (without the "p"), the term has been in use since the early days of Roman contract law.

Related terms: in Latin, empticius means obtained by purchase, emporium is a market where things are sold and bought; and the better known term emptor (as in caveat emptor), refers to the purchaser, the buyer.


  • Glare, P.G.W. Editor, Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), Volume 1, page 606
  • Latin For Lawyers, Anon., (London: Sweet & Maxwell Limited, 1915), pages 273 and 299.

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