pay·​back | \ ˈpā-ˌbak How to pronounce payback (audio) \

Definition of payback

1 : requital
2 : a return on an investment equal to the original capital outlay also : the period of time elapsed before an investment is recouped

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Examples of payback in a Sentence

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

Personal income, reflecting Americans’ pretax earnings from wages, salaries and investments, fell 0.1% in January, payback after a much-larger-than-expected 1.0% rise in December, Commerce Department figures released Friday show. Sarah Chaney, WSJ, "Personal Income Cooled in January," 1 Mar. 2019 Starts for buildings with two or more units clocked a 22.4% rise in November from the previous month, reflecting some payback after declining earlier this fall. Sarah Chaney, WSJ, "Apartment Construction Drives November Home Building," 18 Dec. 2018 This payback might have less to do with politics in New York’s state capital and more with the New Yorker in White House. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The primary defeat of New York’s “independent Democrats,” explained," 14 Sep. 2018 Her aim is simple: payback for years of bullying after a zany accident sets her on an unexpected path. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""Insatiable" Trailer from Netflix Has Debby Ryan Craving Revenge," 19 July 2018 Leaked information from Bird and Lime indicates very low customer-acquisition cost, utilization rates of 10 to 12 rides a day and payback times for the scooters of just a few months, according to industry sources. Sunil Paul, Recode, "The Scooter Wars will be a bloodbath — and Uber will win," 12 July 2018 The anti-Trump 'resistance' already is preparing for robust political payback, should Democrats succeed. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "GOP braces for Democratic investigation overload against Trump, if House flips," 28 Aug. 2018 More coverage ► Five things to know about Mississippi State ► Facing Mississippi State in the Final Four is a chance at payback► How much money will U of L, Jeff Walz make from playing in the Final Four? Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville vs. Mississippi State: Final Four matchup will be a 'mirror image'," 29 Mar. 2018 This long payback period was due to Walker and Republicans effectively cutting the state’s corporate income tax for manufacturers to zero in 2011. Bruce Murphy, The Verge, "Wisconsin’s $4.1 billion Foxconn boondoggle," 29 Oct. 2018

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

1718, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for payback

Last Updated

5 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for payback

The first known use of payback was in 1718

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More Definitions for payback



English Language Learners Definition of payback

: punishment for something that was done in the past
: an amount of money that you receive after investing in something and that is equal to or greater than the amount of money that you originally invested
: the amount of time that passes before invested money is returned or before money that is owed is paid

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More from Merriam-Webster on payback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with payback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for payback

Nglish: Translation of payback for Spanish Speakers

Comments on payback

What made you want to look up payback? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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