1

employ

play
verb em·ploy \ im-ˈplȯi , em- \

Definition of employ

transitive verb
1 a :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

employer

noun

Examples of employ in a Sentence

  1. The company is accused of employing questionable methods to obtain the contract.

  2. You should find better ways to employ your time.

  3. I had to employ a lawyer to review the contract.

  4. It's a small company, employing a staff of only 20.

Recent Examples of employ from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

employ Synonyms

Synonyms
assume, engage, fee [chiefly Scottish], hire, lay on [chiefly British], pay, place, recruit, retain, sign (up or on), take on
Antonyms
ax (or axe), can, discharge, dismiss, fire, sack
Related Words
reemploy, reengage, rehire; apprentice, contract, job, partner, subcontract; enlist; advance, promote, upgrade; keep (on); headhunt, scout
Near Antonyms
furlough, lay off, lock out

Synonym Discussion of 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

2

employ

play
noun em·ploy \ im-ˈplȯi , ˈim-ˌplȯi , ˈem-ˌplȯi \

Definition of employ

2 :the state of being employed
  • in the city's employ

Examples of employ in a Sentence

  1. while you're under our employ, you can't do outside work for our competitors

Recent Examples of employ from the Web

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

1679



EMPLOY Defined for English Language Learners

employ

play
verb

Definition of employ for English Language Learners

  • : to use (something) for a particular purpose or to do something

  • : to use or direct (something, such as your time or effort) in order to achieve a particular goal

  • : to use or get the services of (someone) to do a particular job


EMPLOY Defined for Kids

1

employ

play
verb em·ploy \ im-ˈplȯi \

Definition of employ for Students

employed; employing
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.

2

employ

noun

Definition of employ for Students

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


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