pay

verb (1)
\ ˈpā How to pronounce pay (audio) \
paid\ ˈpād How to pronounce paid (audio) \ also in sense 7 payed; paying

Definition of pay

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to make due return to for services rendered or property delivered paid the pizza deliverer
b : to engage for money : hire You couldn't pay me to do that. paid a teenager to mow his lawn
2a : to give in return for goods or service pay wages
b : to discharge indebtedness for : settle pay a bill
c : to make a disposal or transfer of (money) paid a few dollars weekly into a savings account
3 : to give or forfeit in expiation or retribution pay the penalty
4a : to make compensation (see compensation sense 2) for His trouble was well paid in the end.
b : to requite according to what is deserved pay them back
5 : to give, offer, or make freely or as fitting pay attention pay your respects
6a : to return value or profit to it pays you to stay open
b : to bring in as a return an investment paying five percent
7 : to slacken (something, such as a rope) and allow to run out used with out paid out the rope as it jerked taut

intransitive verb

1 : to discharge a debt or obligation I'll pay when I have the money.
2 : to be worth the expense or effort crime doesn't pay
3 : to suffer the consequences of an act He paid for his crime.
pay one's dues
1 : to earn a right or position through experience, suffering, or hard work He's paid his dues and deserves a promotion.
2 or less commonly pay dues : pay sense intransitive 3
pay one's way or pay one's own way
: to pay one's share of expenses She took a part-time job to pay her own way through college.
pay the piper
: to bear the cost of something You have to do what they say because they are paying the piper.
pay through the nose
: to pay exorbitantly or dearly I found the perfect dress, but I had to pay through the nose for it.

pay

noun

Definition of pay (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : something paid for a purpose and especially as a salary or wage : remuneration
2a : the act or fact of paying or being paid
b : the status of being paid by an employer : employ
3 : a person viewed with respect to reliability or promptness in paying debts or bills
4a : ore or a natural deposit that yields metal and especially gold in profitable amounts
b : an oil-yielding stratum or zone

pay

adjective

Definition of pay (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : containing or leading to something precious or valuable
2 : equipped with a coin slot for receiving a fee for use a pay telephone
3 : requiring payment

pay

verb (2)
payed also paid; paying

Definition of pay (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to coat with a waterproof composition

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Choose the Right Synonym for pay

Verb (1)

pay, compensate, remunerate, satisfy, reimburse, indemnify, repay, recompense mean to give money or its equivalent in return for something. pay implies the discharge of an obligation incurred. paid their bills compensate implies a making up for services rendered. an attorney well compensated for her services remunerate clearly suggests paying for services rendered and may extend to payment that is generous or not contracted for. promised to remunerate the searchers handsomely satisfy implies paying a person what is required by law. all creditors will be satisfied in full reimburse implies a return of money that has been spent for another's benefit. reimbursed employees for expenses indemnify implies making good a loss suffered through accident, disaster, warfare. indemnified the families of the dead miners repay stresses paying back an equivalent in kind or amount. repay a favor with a favor recompense suggests due return in amends, friendly repayment, or reward. passengers were recompensed for the delay

Examples of pay in a Sentence

Noun

He has been suspended without pay pending the results of the investigation. Each pay period begins on the first of the month. Workers received a $4,000 pay increase. I took a significant pay cut when I took this job, but I think it was worth it.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Look for sheets that are certified organic by organizations like the USDA or GOTS as well as fair trade, to ensure that everyone involved in the manufacture of your sheets is being treated and paid fairly for their work. Lauren Hubbard, ELLE Decor, "A Beginner's Guide to Making Your Home More Sustainable," 1 Apr. 2019 As the masculine version of Alexandra, this name would pay tribute to the Queen in a similar way. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "All of the Royal Baby Names Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Might Choose," 22 Mar. 2019 Kardashian reached out to Charles and volunteered to pay five years of rent and act as a reference to property owners. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Offers to Pay Five Years of Rent for a Former Inmate Yet He Was Denied a Home," 18 Mar. 2019 Juul is paying a dividend of $150 per share to its investors as part of the arrangement, according to people close to the deal. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "In an extraordinary move, Juul is trying to make peace with its investors and employees by paying them more than $4 billion," 21 Dec. 2018 Instead, patients are getting drugstore items in the emergency room at a significant markup — and paying higher bills as a result. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "I read 1,182 emergency room bills this year. Here’s what I learned.," 18 Dec. 2018 Now, after nearly 80 years with nary an update, the paper's manufacturer, CW Stockwell, is releasing an entire new collection based on the iconic print, bringing the pattern into the modern day while paying homage to its roots. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "One of the Most Iconic Wallpapers of All Time Is Back," 20 Mar. 2019 Early civilizations found the spring equinox and these other heavenly happenings a reliable way to keep track of the seasons, and many of today’s cultures continue to pay tribute to them just as their ancestors did. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "What Exactly Is the Spring Equinox?," 19 Mar. 2019 Phillip Treacy hat The shoot at Cliveden, photographed by Alex Bramall (who also photographed Princess Eugenie's wedding), paid homage to Kitty’s role within the fabric of the British aristocracy and her aunt’s impact on the world of fashion. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Kitty Spencer Finally Steps Into the Spotlight," 19 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Within a few weeks of the final complaint my female co-worker and I were given a pay raise. Glamour, "Real Women Remember the Horror of Finding Out They Were Paid Less Than Men," 2 Apr. 2019 In Harris’ hometown of Oakland, striking teachers recently went back to their classrooms following a weeklong strike after union members voted to approve a contract agreement that provided pay raises. Juana Summers, The Seattle Times, "Kamala Harris promises teachers a raise if elected president," 26 Mar. 2019 After two months on strike, hotel employees negotiated larger pay raises and other benefits and returned to work earlier this month. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "The GOP tax bill only gave workers 2 cents more per hour in bonuses," 18 Dec. 2018 Council members are also considering a bill that would set minimum pay rules for app drivers. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber and Lyft are facing a major crackdown in New York City," 27 July 2018 Instead of pay raises, the city could offer to restore retiree health care benefits that were slashed in 2010, or some combination of those two. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "If state Supreme Court rules against San Diego on pensions, it could could cost city millions," 14 July 2018 The board then may vote again on its budget, which includes a 13 percent pay raise for teachers. Craig Harris, azcentral, "East Valley charter, subject of Republic investigation, reverses itself after blocking public comment," 14 July 2018 Sparks received a modest $5,000 pay raise from his previous yearly salary while Williams received a $7,000 signing bonus and admission to a corporate profit-sharing plan, prosecutors said. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Former Employee Of Groton Defense Contractor Requests New Trial After Conviction For Stealing Navy Secrets," 12 July 2018 The deal calls for pay raises, including a boost for the company’s thousands of part-time workers, who would start at $13 an hour under the new agreement, up from $10 an hour currently, according to the Teamsters. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "UPS-Teamsters labor deal tackles weekend deliveries, potential for drones and driverless vehicles," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pay.' 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 pay

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1610, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pay

Verb (1), Noun, and Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French paier, from Latin pacare to pacify, from pac-, pax peace

Verb (2)

obsolete French peier, from Latin picare, from pic-, pix pitch — more at pitch

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Dictionary Entries near pay

Pax Romana

pax vobiscum

paxwax

pay

Paya

payability

payable

Statistics for pay

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pay

The first known use of pay was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for pay

pay

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pay

: money received in exchange for work : money paid to someone for doing work

pay

verb
\ ˈpā How to pronounce pay (audio) \
paid\ ˈpād \; paying

Kids Definition of pay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give (as money) in return for services received or for something bought Pay the taxi driver. I paid for a ticket.
2 : to give money for (something owed) I have to pay the rent.
3 : to get even with She wants to pay them back for the insult.
4 : to give or offer freely pay a compliment pay attention
5 : to have a worthwhile result : be worth the effort or pains required It pays to drive carefully.
pay off
1 : to give all of what is owed It felt good to pay off a debt.
2 : to have a good result Hours of practice paid off in a successful show.
pay up
: to pay in full especially debts that are due

Other Words from pay

payer noun

pay

noun

Kids Definition of pay (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of giving money for something bought or used or for what is owed : payment
2 : salary My mother got an increase in pay.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pay

Spanish Central: Translation of pay

Nglish: Translation of pay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pay for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pay

Comments on pay

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