em·​ploy·​ee | \ im-ˌplȯ(i)-ˈē How to pronounce employee (audio) , (ˌ)em-; im-ˈplȯ(i)-ˌē, em- How to pronounce employee (audio) \
variants: or less commonly employe

Definition of employee

: one employed by another usually for wages or salary and in a position below the executive level

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Synonyms & Antonyms for employee


hand, hireling, jobholder, retainer, worker


employer, gaffer [British]

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Examples of employee in a Sentence

A good boss listens to his employees. The company has more than 2,000 employees worldwide.

Recent Examples on the Web

Man allegedly damaged Taco Bell employee's car after being refused service Grab your one free taco from 2-6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at participating Taco Bell locations while supplies last. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Here's how to get your hands on free Doritos Locos Tacos Tuesday, June 18," 18 June 2019 Backpage handed out fat legal retainers, as key employees lawyered up. Christine Biederman, WIRED, "Inside Backpage.com’s Vicious Battle With the Feds," 18 June 2019 New employees feel like strangers in a strange land. Anchorage Daily News, "Be careful of hidden agendas when catty co-workers ‘befriend’ you," 18 June 2019 The food maker expects to record about $35 million in pretax charges related to the move, including roughly $20 million in severance and other employee-termination benefits. Micah Maidenberg, WSJ, "Kellogg Plans Job Cuts Amid North America Reorganization," 18 June 2019 Chicago was home tothe nation's first charter-school strike last year, when employees of the Acero schools stopped working to demand higher pay, smaller class sizes and a shorter school day. Erin Richards, USA TODAY, "Strikes, pay raises & charter protests: America's teachers' exhausting, exhilarating year," 18 June 2019 Happily Gone: For people who don’t know, Glassdoor is a rating system for companies, where employees can post (anonymous) reviews. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Hoarding disorder creates messy situation," 18 June 2019 Commissioners also propose a retirement plan be provided to city elected official, if the city moves to the state’s retirement system for all employees. Brittany Wallman, sun-sentinel.com, "Fort Lauderdale prepares to double politicians’ salaries," 18 June 2019 Inside that store, employees could be seen removing chocolates, macarons and other sweets and packing them inside large plastic bags that were apparently deposited in a dumpster. nola.com, "Sucré dessert shops shut down after 13 years," 17 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of employee

1822, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for employee

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for employee

The first known use of employee was in 1822

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More Definitions for employee



English Language Learners Definition of employee

: a person who works for another person or for a company for wages or a salary


em·​ploy·​ee | \ im-ˌplȯi-ˈē How to pronounce employee (audio) \

Kids Definition of employee

: a person who is paid to work for another


variants: also employe

Legal Definition of employee

: a person usually below the executive level who is hired by another to perform a service especially for wages or salary and is under the other's control — see also respondeat superior — compare independent contractor

Note: In determining whether an individual is an employee, courts look at several factors, including the nature of the compensation paid, provision for employee benefits, whether the hired party is in business, tax treatment of the hired party, source of the equipment used, and location of the work. Statutes, such as workers' compensation acts and labor laws, usually include a definition of employee as it is used in the statute.

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More from Merriam-Webster on employee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with employee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for employee

Spanish Central: Translation of employee

Nglish: Translation of employee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of employee for Arabic Speakers

Comments on employee

What made you want to look up employee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

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