pay

verb (1)
\ ˈpā How to pronounce pay (audio) \
paid\ ˈpād How to pronounce paid (audio) \ 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

This International Women's Day, the designer merged the fashion and art communities together by tapping artist Ashley Longshore for a pop-up exhibition paying homage to a series of female trailblazers. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Diane von Furstenberg and Ashley Longshore's New Exhibit Celebrates Legendary Women," 8 Mar. 2019 The three are teamed up against Jonathan Van Ness and Karamo Brown, who paid homage to Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. Maddie Hiatt, House Beautiful, "UPDATE: Bobby Berk Returned To TV Last Night As Britney Spears," 18 Jan. 2019 Super Cruise uses a driver-facing camera to determine if the driver is paying attention to the road. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018 In an extraordinary move, Juul is trying to make peace with its investors and employees by paying them more than $4 billion. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Wealth managers and charities are looking forward to an IPO-rich 2019," 21 Dec. 2018 The new financing offer from Ant’s Huabei service, which provides lines of credit to tens of millions of individuals who use the Alipay platform, will sharply lower the monthly sums that people have to pay for new iPhones. Stella Yifan Xie, WSJ, "Apple to Chinese Consumers: Buy a New iPhone for Under $30 a Month, Interest Free," 21 Feb. 2019 The new law means the state would have to pay more, including $230 million in additional costs in 2021 when the hourly pay floor rises to $10. John O'connor, The Seattle Times, "Governor signs measure to hike Illinois minimum wage to $15," 19 Feb. 2019 Users get 25 free swipes each day and have to pay for subsequent credits, which can be used to send messages and get more swipes. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "“For conservatives, by conservatives”: the rise of right-wing dating apps," 26 Dec. 2018 Note: all of these fares are basic economy, which means you'll be restricted to a carry-on and have to pay extra to select your seat or check a bag. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "12 Days of Deals: U.S. to Europe from $323 Round-Trip," 20 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The new law means the state would have to pay more, including $230 million in additional costs in 2021 when the hourly pay floor rises to $10. John O'connor, The Seattle Times, "Governor signs measure to hike Illinois minimum wage to $15," 19 Feb. 2019 Thanks to federal and state parity laws, most insurance plans can’t charge a much higher co-pay to see a therapist than to see a doctor like a primary care physician or ob/gyn, the HHS explains. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Ways to Find an Actually Affordable Therapist," 15 Feb. 2019 But a growing number of reports about Flex suggest that some drivers are subject to low pay, long hours, and dangerous conditions — and that many don’t have as much control over their working conditions as Amazon has led them to believe. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon is cutting costs with its own delivery service — but its drivers don’t receive benefits," 26 Dec. 2018 The USA Women's Hockey Team won gold—and fair payThe U.S. women’s hockey team’s win at the 2018 Winter Olympics was a perfect capstone on the season—and their fight for equality. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "9 Times Being a Woman in 2018 Was Genuinely Powerful," 30 Oct. 2018 She has reportedly been paid over $200,000 in back pay since the disparity came to light. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Crown Season 3: Everything We Know So Far," 26 July 2018 Ashe said the chamber has been urging Congress to pass a bill securing back pay for federal contractors. Neena Satija, The Seattle Times, "Federal contractors who lost health insurance during shutdown remain in limbo," 28 Jan. 2019 Anyone who’s created assets for the Unreal store now earns 88 percent of the money, and will also earn that new 18 percent in back-pay for the last four years. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: More Witcher games, new Commandos, and Darksiders III gets a release date," 13 July 2018 The bill, which passed 363-54, would increase the pay for intelligence employees with cyber skills and defend against foreign threats to federal U.S. elections. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: House Democrats list states with weakest election security in new report," 13 July 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

13 Mar 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 How to pronounce pay (audio) \
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

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