em·​ploy | \ im-ˈplȯi How to pronounce employ (audio) , em- \
employed; employing; employs

Definition of employ

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make use of (someone or something inactive) employ a pen for sketching
b : to use (something, such as time) advantageously a job that employed her skills
c(1) : to use or engage the services of
(2) : to provide with a job that pays wages or a salary
2 : to devote to or direct toward a particular activity or person employed all her energies to help the poor


em·​ploy | \ im-ˈplȯi How to pronounce employ (audio) , ˈim-ˌplȯi, ˈem-ˌplȯi How to pronounce employ (audio) \

Definition of employ (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : use, purpose
2 : the state of being employed in the city's employ

Synonyms & Antonyms for employ

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for employ


use, employ, utilize mean to put into service especially to attain an end. use implies availing oneself of something as a means or instrument to an end. willing to use any means to achieve her ends employ suggests the use of a person or thing that is available but idle, inactive, or disengaged. looking for better ways to employ their skills utilize may suggest the discovery of a new, profitable, or practical use for something. an old wooden bucket utilized as a planter

Examples of employ in a Sentence

Verb The company is accused of employing questionable methods to obtain the contract. You should find better ways to employ your time. I had to employ a lawyer to review the contract. It's a small company, employing a staff of only 20. Noun while you're under our employ, you can't do outside work for our competitors
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Amazon plans to employ about 1,000 people at the warehouse. Liz Young, WSJ, 28 July 2022 Wince plans to employ 15 neighborhood residents and offer other services, such as check cashing and utility bill payments. La Risa R. Lynch, Journal Sentinel, 15 July 2022 The facility is expected to employ about 200 people. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 July 2022 Meyer said Mass General Brigham plans to employ all the people who deliver the care, though that may change as the program expands. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 11 July 2022 The publication says the spaceport expects to employ 150 people directly, with a further 240 jobs in its supply chain. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 24 June 2022 The new facility, which is set to employ more than 1,700 people, is designed to be carbon neutral and features a solar energy power plant. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, 17 June 2022 Sweetwater expects to employ 165 people at the facility in Glendale, according to a company announcement on Thursday. Endia Fontanez, The Arizona Republic, 9 June 2022 The project is expected to employ as many as 8,100 people and involve a roughly $5.5 billion investment, ranking as one of the largest corporate recruitments in Georgia’s history. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, 21 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Disney representatives said that the case was settled to avoid costly litigation and that the resort’s three hotels employ experts, including entomologists, to avoid bedbug problems. Hugo Martínstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 Pierre Cardin is briefly in the employ of Schiaparelli. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, 1 July 2022 In a letter sent Friday to Democratic City Councilman Eric Costello, the chairman of the council’s Ways and Means Committee that conducts the budget hearing process, Mosby counted 144 prosecutors in her employ. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 6 June 2022 Waldman doesn't deny making the statements, but Depp's side argued that even though Waldman was under his employ, Depp was not involved or aware of these remarks. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 1 June 2022 Some private enterprises may be attracted to scrutinizing employees like an intelligence agency might keep tabs on analysts and spies, although employ don’t have access to the same data sources. Sarah Scoles, New York Times, 17 May 2022 Burna Boy’s frequent employ of an a cappella or minimalist arrangement meant the eager attendees could often be heard singing clearly, their voices as sweet as Burna’s smile. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 29 Apr. 2022 Angell, who died earlier this month at the age of 101, spent 75 years in the employ of The New Yorker. Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, 28 May 2022 Having begun the story before World War I, there's always been the lingering question of what awaits this aristocratic family and those in their employ as the second World War, and the conditions leading to it, come into view. Brian Lowry, CNN, 20 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'employ.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of employ


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1679, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for employ


Middle English emploien, from Anglo-French empleier, emploier, emplier to entangle, apply, make use of, from Latin implicare to enfold, involve, from in- + plicare to fold — more at ply

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The first known use of employ was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Employ.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/employ. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for employ


em·​ploy | \ im-ˈplȯi How to pronounce employ (audio) \
employed; employing

Kids Definition of employ

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give a job to : use the services of The company employs over 500 workers.
2 : to make use of They employ traditional methods of farming.



Kids Definition of employ (Entry 2 of 2)

: the state of being hired for a job by The gentleman is in the employ of a large bank.

More from Merriam-Webster on employ

Nglish: Translation of employ for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of employ for Arabic Speakers


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