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

Whistleblowers are entitled under law to between 10% and 30% of the monetary penalties paid by companies in cases where their information led to an enforcement action. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, "Whistleblower Challenges SEC Over Delay on Award Decision," 30 Apr. 2019 Overseen by the Washington Supreme Court, the bar association is a self-regulating agency of legal professionals that derives its funding through mandatory fees of $453 per year paid by each of its roughly 40,000 members. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Amid turmoil, judge rules Washington State Bar Association must disclose correspondence that explains director’s firing," 14 Apr. 2019 One that garnered the most attention: that they had never been paid by the Trump campaign. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Diamond and Silk, Fox & Friends’ favorite black Trump supporters, explained," 5 Feb. 2019 The blush is available on Amazon and at Sephora for an ultra-affordable $30—a small price to pay for a royal-worthy glow, right? Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "One of Meghan Markle's Favorite Blushes Is Available for $30 at Sephora," 14 Apr. 2019 Parks and Rec alum Retta plays one of these badass ladies, her character Ruby joining a life of crime with her childhood best friends (Christina Hendricks and Mae Whitman) to pay for expensive treatments for her sick daughter. Kellee Terrell, Harper's BAZAAR, "Retta Wants Hollywood to Know She's Ready to Play the Femme Fatale," 11 Apr. 2019 Something as simple as adding weather stripping to doors and windows is a relatively inexpensive way to retain your home’s internal temperature, often paying for itself in energy savings within a year. Barbara Eldredge, Curbed, "How to save on utility bills," 25 Jan. 2019 Over 70 percent of consumers ages 15 to 20 are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "How Gen Z and Millennials Are Totally Different," 17 Jan. 2019 But the Trump administration can’t even admit publicly that Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall, much less admit that the whole wall concept is essentially irrelevant to their immigration policy goals. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The shutdown is intractable because Trump’s wall is ridiculous and Republicans know it," 8 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Advertising Most parents who use the program must pay a co-pay, depending on income and ranging from $40 to $150 per child per month for full-time care, to the provider to cover a portion of the child care costs. Hayley Harding, The Seattle Times, "Looking for the perfect child care? Join the waiting list.," 13 Apr. 2019 Faster speeds come as cable and telecommunications firms struggle with subscribers ditching their pay TV packages for streaming Internet video services such as Netflix. Mike Freeman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cox, Spectrum upgrade networks to bring gigabit Internet speeds to San Diego," 11 July 2018 The charges stem from an incident that allegedly occurred two years ago July 5 at 100 N. Gay St. Police spokesman T.J. Smith has said Rivera-Martinez has been suspended without pay, under the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. Yvonne Wenger, baltimoresun.com, "Indictment reveals new details on alleged assault by Baltimore officer," 10 July 2018 Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal LEXINGTON, Ky. — Mitch Barnhart recently received a raise in pay, new incentives and a one-year contract extension. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart receives raise in pay, incentives," 29 June 2018 Court records say police paid Cesan more than $29,000 in fraudulent overtime pay, while Herman and Wilson both received roughly $12,500. Washington Post, "Feds: Troopers ‘tarnished’ badge with bogus overtime shifts," 27 June 2018 In the California Teachers Association, about 8 to 10 percent of the people represented pay agency fees rather than membership dues, said Eric Heins, a Pittsburg teacher and president of the union. John Wildermuth, SFChronicle.com, "California public worker unions face tough times after Supreme Court ruling," 27 June 2018 My mother says the fabricated sense of intimacy made asking for raises, demanding timely pay, and asserting boundaries feel nearly impossible for her. Mariana Viera, Teen Vogue, "Domestic Workers Like My Mom Deserve Protection and Security," 26 Mar. 2019 Seeking higher pay and more education funding, teachers in more than a half-dozen states have walked out of their classrooms in protest. Juana Summers, The Seattle Times, "Kamala Harris promises teachers a raise if elected president," 26 Mar. 2019

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

8 May 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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