pay

verb (1)
\ ˈpā \
paid\ ˈpād \ 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

In April, half of Unasur’s 12 member-states — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru — stopped paying dues and suspended their membership. Joshua Goodman, The Seattle Times, "South America bloc’s woes leave architectural gem forlorn," 8 Jan. 2019 This also caused the rich to start paying those who worked their land. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "What is Capitalism?," 7 Jan. 2019 Remember, Trump said repeatedly while on the campaign trail and also as president that Mexico would pay for the border wall. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Trump threatens to shut down the border for the third time in three months," 29 Dec. 2018 What makes less sense to us is the dividend that is being paid out to (already rich) venture capitalists. 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 Though Hollywood on the whole appears to be moving (albeit glacially) toward more inclusion in a post-#OscarsSoWhite world, today's nominations are a sad reminder that some institutions aren't paying attention. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Screen Actors Guild Nominated Just One Woman of Color for an Individual Acting Award," 12 Dec. 2018 Granted, the problem with getting attached to a long-term meme is that people who pay attention to social media get really, really sick of it. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The best memes of 2018, according to The Verge staff," 27 Dec. 2018 Thankfully, the government is starting to pay attention. Audrey Henson, Vox, "Diversity on Capitol Hill starts with paying interns," 26 Dec. 2018 Maybe all of you over there lay off the booze and pay attention to the real conversation that took place? Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Grey's Anatomy' Fans Stick by Ellen Pompeo After "Lay Off the Booze" Tweet Goes Viral," 11 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Their efforts gained much sympathy from the public — many of whom shared their stories of teachers in their own lives who went above and beyond in the name of education, despite poor pay and low funding. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Education Workers on Campuses Around the Country Are Demanding Better Labor Conditions," 10 Jan. 2019 Ars Technica reports that several government officials are working without pay to make sure the launch from Florida's Complex 39A goes off without a hitch. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Pushes Back 'Especially Dangerous' Dragon Test," 7 Jan. 2019 Congress members, meanwhile, will see no breaks in their pay whatsoever. Li Zhou, Vox, "Senators are getting paid during the government shutdown. Many low-wage contractors aren’t.," 27 Dec. 2018 Even though many of these workers were women, and limited in their pay, promotion, and work opportunities due to sexism, their proximity to the literal machinery of government gave them a great deal of power. Marie Hicks, The Verge, "The long history behind the Google Walkout," 9 Nov. 2018 For a lot of people, one big aspect of this transition is reevaluating your finances now that your pay schedule (and possibly your take-home pay) has changed. Amy Keller Laird, SELF, "Does Work/Life Balance Exist in the Gig Economy?," 8 Nov. 2018 The switch, after 2010, to defer a big chunk of Mr. Ghosn’s pay was obviously a stratagem to keep him in harness while easing the pressure on French and Japanese politicians. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Carlos Ghosn, a Victim of Old Japan," 21 Dec. 2018 Perhaps discussions of raising Congressional pay to cover increased housing costs is a non-starter, especially with the dismal public approval ratings for Congress. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a point about housing for Congress," 21 Nov. 2018 Daugaard said one solution was to allow deserved pay raises to go forward while reopening talks on some provisions involving reforms. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Federal judge questions whether Seattle police-union contract in keeping with ‘spirit’ of reforms," 5 Nov. 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

16 Jan 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 \
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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