pay·​back ˈpā-ˌbak How to pronounce payback (audio)
: a return on an investment equal to the original capital outlay
also : the period of time elapsed before an investment is recouped

Example Sentences

They beat our team last year, so we've got to beat them this year as payback. we are hoping to get payback for the humiliating defeat we suffered at the hands of our rivals during our last matchup
Recent Examples on the Web As a businessman, Caruso must be quite pleased with the payback on his $40-million investment. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2022 Depending on their energy needs, those interested in going solar can expect to shell out $10,000 to $20,000 to have 3-by-5-foot photovoltaic panels installed on their roof or in their yard, with a payback of about 10 to 12 years. Peter Krouse, cleveland, 24 Nov. 2021 That was seen as a form of political payback after Democrats stripped Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar of their committee assignments. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 3 Feb. 2023 The victory was Wisconsin’s fifth over a ranked opponent and served as a bit of payback for two losses the Badgers experienced at the hands of Ohio State during the opening weekend of the season. Mark Stewart, Journal Sentinel, 22 Jan. 2023 It’s been a long time since Mahomes’ infamous overtime interception, and he’s got a chance to get some measure of payback and keep Kansas City’s winning streak going at the same time. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 1 Dec. 2022 Robby Ashford has a game under his belt as a starter, so that helps, but LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is catching fire and the Tigers will be wanting some payback from last season’s loss in Baton Rouge, La. Joseph Goodman |, al, 29 Sep. 2022 Can the Duke Blue Devils earn some payback against the same North Carolina squad that handed Coach K a loss in his final home game? Xl Media, cleveland, 28 Mar. 2022 Still, after TitleMax announced the CFPB’s order internally to its employees, Brown recalled that the voluntary payback guide disappeared from her TitleMax store. Margaret Coker, ProPublica, 19 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'payback.' 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

1718, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of payback was in 1718

Dictionary Entries Near payback

Cite this Entry

“Payback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on payback

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