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

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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

More than 2,500 students utilize Shiru’s services each day, and each location employs 15 students, an internship opportunity. Fox News, "Students ‘pay’ for coffee with personal data," 4 Oct. 2018 On top of that, 41 percent of employed Americans perceive mothers to be less devoted to their jobs, according to a Bright Horizons study. Jenna Birch, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Secret Code to Success Most Women Don't Even Know Exists," 3 Apr. 2019 The hotels were just trying to keep as many of the staff employed as possible. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Stories of IRL Eloise: People Who Live in Hotels," 30 Nov. 2018 Besides, as all that tabloid speculation proves, there's more than enough buzz around each couple to employ two sizable offices. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Why Is Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Household Split From Kate Middleton and Prince William Such a Big Deal?," 15 Mar. 2019 The company plans to employ 25,000 employees at each location, according to a New York Times story that suggests deals in Virginia and New York are near completion. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 winner appears to be both New York and Crystal City, Virginia," 6 Nov. 2018 Apple isn't the only company to employ these sorts of methods for touching up photos behind the scenes. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple says glossy iPhone XS selfies were a bug, promises a fix in iOS 12.1," 24 Oct. 2018 Meghan's not the only member of the royal family to employ a female bodyguard. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Has a Female Bodyguard, Just Like Kate Middleton," 24 Oct. 2018 How the Magic intend to employ Frazier during the season ahead remains unclear. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Rookie Melvin Frazier Jr. showing defensive grit but unrefined offensive game," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Kawhi Leonard awoke Friday still under the employ of the Spurs, despite rumblings leading to Thursday’s draft the team might be compelled to deal its disillusioned superstar. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs aim to hang onto Leonard — for now," 22 June 2018 Her whole employ was saying and doing outrageous things to get attention. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, ""A teaching moment.' Valerie Jarrett and others respond to 'Roseanne' controversy," 29 May 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.

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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

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Statistics for employ

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for employ

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

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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.

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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

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