pay grade


: a level of compensation for work especially when understood to reflect responsibility and authority
"People listen to you regardless of your pay grade," a Goldman managing director told me. "There is a real respect for the individual voice."John Cassidy
often used figuratively
The unanswerable questions ascend into the skies, far above your pay grade, whatever it may be.Robert W. Lucky
Unfortunately … he appears to think the task of community development is below his pay grade.Faith Bautista
No one will read this book and come away wondering if steroids really work. Oh, they work. They bump a competitor up a whole pay grade—from finishing in the middle of the pack in the final heat to breaking the tape and collecting the winner's bonus.Michael Sokolove

Examples of pay grade in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The plan also raises the maximum salary range for all pay grades by 10% and authorizes new incentives for future recruits and current employees who go above and beyond, either through a lump sum payment or through extra hours of paid leave, according to the governor. Michael R. Wickline,, 11 Apr. 2024 Employees in certain pay grades making less than $20 per hour next year will receive a one-time bonus to make their total yearly income the equivalent of those making $20 per hour. Rebecca Noel, Charlotte Observer, 10 Apr. 2024 Aiyuk, however, is seeking greater financial security and a multi-year contract that aligns with other receivers atop the NFL’s pay grade, at about $25 million annually. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, 25 Mar. 2024 To earn a promotion and reach higher pay grades, firefighters usually have to move among the agency’s nine regions or earn a master’s degree in forestry and leave the fire line. ProPublica, 16 Mar. 2024 Stromberg is mostly annoyed that a low-level congressperson is messing with a task force that is well above his pay grade, until Hudson links Red (James Spader) to last week's huge security breach at the Capital. Tanya Melendez,, 7 July 2023 People were sometimes annoyed at that, but like, that’s way above my pay grade. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 27 Feb. 2024 But playing matchmaker might be way above their pay grade. Kevin Jacobsen,, 17 Oct. 2023 These questions of what should happen to Claudine Gay—we’re so far beyond my pay grade. Emma Green, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pay grade.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1883, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pay grade was in 1883

Dictionary Entries Near pay grade

Cite this Entry

“Pay grade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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