employ

verb
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

employ

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from employ

Verb

employer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for employ

Synonyms: Verb

assume, engage, fee [chiefly Scottish], hire, lay on [chiefly British], pay, place, recruit, retain, sign (up or on), take on

Synonyms: Noun

employment, engagement, hire

Antonyms: Verb

ax (or axe), can, discharge, dismiss, fire, sack

Antonyms: Noun

joblessness, nonemployment, unemployment

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for employ

Verb

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The approach was championed by Newsom in his own budget proposal and employed in expanding programs designed to help low-income families. John Myers, latimes.com, "California lawmakers approve a state budget blueprint, but negotiations continue," 13 June 2019 Panda Restaurant Group, operators of the largest Asian dining concept in the US, Panda Express, adds about 100 locations each year, has 114 in Arizona, and employs nearly 1,700 people in the state as well. Panda Express, azcentral, "Good fortune is best when shared: Panda Express finds success through family," 6 June 2019 The other fulfillment center is in Secaucus, New Jersey, where the company employs 1,100 people in fulfillment and 200 more in a customer service call center. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Rent the Runway opens Arlington fulfillment center with 500-plus employees by year end," 5 June 2019 The strategies to prevent homelessness that are being employed in the Bay Area work. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: Don’t give up on efforts to house the homeless," 4 June 2019 However, Holzhauer knew the strategy Boettcher would employ in Final Jeopardy, which led him to bet a surprisingly low amount of money, given his history for massive bets. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Jeopardy! Tracker: James Holzhauer's final stats, cash totals after 32-game win streak," 4 June 2019 Joanna's father, a Vietnam War vet and Firestone Tire salesman, employed his post-grad daughter in his auto shop, helping run the marketing side of the business. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Chip and Joanna Gaineses' Love Story Is Better Than The Notebook," 19 Apr. 2019 In order to properly test a game with thousands of square miles of playable space, the designers employed automated tools running on their office PCs. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: Total War: Rome II devs built all of Europe—and the AI ignored most of it," 19 Dec. 2018 Political capital could be more intelligently employed making the state and city hospitable to businesses of all kinds, especially the smaller businesses that create most jobs. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Amazon Fiasco Splits New York’s Left," 17 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

However, a lack of financial resources forced him to seek the employ of the United States Navy. orlandosentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 6/6," 5 June 2019 With the player now under their employ, their chances of finally clearing that hurdle have increased significantly. SI.com, "Cristiano Ronaldo's Agent Jorge Mendes Says Juventus Will Be the Player's Last Club," 11 July 2018 Kika Tech’s Keka Keyboard app was also found to have employ similar tactics to claim referral credits. Dami Lee, The Verge, "Google Play-promoted Android apps are using scammy ad practices, report says," 26 Nov. 2018 The duo visit the musty apartment of a reclusive language tutor, the elegant suite of a physicist in the employ of the U.S. government, and the shadowy ghetto lair of a brutal young hoodlum. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: Tales of Three Blood-Soaked Cities," 30 Nov. 2018 Those investigators can come from within the employ of MLB or hired outside investigators. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Major League Baseball will investigate claims of racism against the Mariners," 13 Nov. 2018 What’s more, many public figures who may be potential targets of attacks have mail-screening areas in their employ, staffed with experts who know how to identify suspicious packages. Alex Ward, Vox, "2 possible reasons the pipe bombs didn’t explode," 26 Oct. 2018 The cruise industry gets knocked around for the long hours and often hectic conditions of the people in its employ. Michael Ian Black, New York Times, "Cruises Are So Uncool They Are Cool," 3 July 2018 Beyond the broadcasters’ exit poll team of Curtice and Fisher, several other leading U.K. academics also worked for hedge funds—either directly or for the pollsters in their employ. Cam Simpson, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit’s Big Short: How Pollsters Helped Hedge Funds Beat the Crash," 25 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of employ

Verb

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

Noun

1679, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for employ

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about employ

Statistics for employ

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for employ

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for employ

employ

verb

English Language Learners Definition of employ

: 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

verb
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.

employ

noun

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on employ

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with employ

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for employ

Spanish Central: Translation of employ

Nglish: Translation of employ for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of employ for Arabic Speakers

Comments on employ

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

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!