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

There needs to be fairness and payback in taking care of New Jersey. Gerard Gayou, WSJ, "Is New Jersey Finally Fed Up With Bob Menendez?," 20 July 2018 Their previous lives also offer insights into why the cycle of petty beefs and paybacks still holds sway. Anita Chabria, sacbee, "The man in charge of Sacramento's new anti-gun violence program was once a shooter himself," 29 May 2018 The meals of Mother’s Day are a tiny sliver of payback, a recognition that taking on the responsibility of feeding another human being is hard, important work that deserves to be celebrated. Bee Wilson, WSJ, "Feeding a Family Isn’t a Job for Mothers Alone," 10 May 2019 And if there was any payback, Molina got his own revenge in the first inning with a two-run single. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Cardinals' Yadier Molina, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo make amends before game," 2 July 2018 The collab was belated payback for Stefani’s performance at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in 2012, when Pink joined her at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jordan Runtagh,, "Gwen Stefani Joins Pink Onstage in Los Angeles for a Punky 'Just a Girl' Duet," 1 June 2018 Another Reddit user revealed a huge plan to become fake friends with a fan who previously spoiled Avengers: Infinity War last year in order to spoil Avengers: Endgame as payback. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Teachers Are Threatening Students with "Avengers: Endgame" Spoilers To Get Them To Behave In Class and I’m Outraged," 3 May 2019 Fans might riot if Jaime or Tyrion (or her unborn baby) don't somehow end up choking the life out of her as payback for the many, many people she's killed. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Why Cersei Lannister Should Survive the End of 'Game of Thrones'," 30 Apr. 2019 However, Kate got her payback later in today's visit. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William Joked That Kate Middleton Dressed Like a Christmas Tree," 5 Dec. 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

9 Jul 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

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something desired as essential

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